BC Ferries departures canceled due to lack of crew

Noon and 4 p.m. departures are canceled from Swartz Bay; 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. from Tsawwassen

A continued crew shortage has once again forced BC Ferries to cancel sailings. Four departures between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen were canceled Sunday afternoon.

The noon and 4 p.m. departures from Swartz Bay have been canceled, as have the 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. departures from Tsawwassen, all on the Coastal Renaissance.

BC Ferries said in a statement: “We require a specific number of crew on board the vessel to ensure the safety of our passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency and to comply with Transport regulations. Canada.”

The company’s customer service center is contacting customers to tell them that their reservations have been canceled and that their fees and fares will be refunded. In such cases, the trip returns to standby.

Some disgruntled passengers filed complaints on social media on Sunday.

BC Ferries told a customer he was sorry to have been affected by the cancellations.

If a crossing is cancelled, it tries to move all customers to the next crossing. If this cannot be done, reservations are refunded.

Staff shortages leading to the cancellation of crossings have become common since last year on BC Ferries.

The company issued a notice on March 25 indicating that crew shortages were expected to continue into the spring and summer, which would impact sailing hours as well as plans to introduce additional service on some roads.

He said he’s not alone in facing staffing shortages, pointing to Washington state, Alaska and New Zealand, all of which are struggling to hire staff.

The situation is due to a combination of factors, including retirements, a global shortage of seafarers and the difficulty of recruiting international personnel due to COVID-19 and the impact of vaccination policies, he said. he declares.

Eric McNeely, president of the BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union, said BC Ferries hadn’t done enough in previous years to bolster staff training and retention for the retirements it is currently facing.

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