September 15, 2017 10:31 pm

It’s so hot in the new BC Ferries’ kitchens, they stopped making burgers and fries

The Salish Class vessels have been plagued by a number of problems, including the galleys becoming too hot for crew to safely work in, or to make burgers and fries. Neetu Garcha has the details.


White Spot burgers and fries — two staples in the kitchen on almost any BC Ferries journey.

But temperatures in the kitchen reached up to 51 degrees with the humidex on the company’s new Salish Class ships after they were introduced to the fleet earlier this year.

So those were two items that had to come off the menu for much of the summer as the heat became too much for staff to bear.

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The kitchens are just one of a number of problems that have plagued the ferry service’s new ships since they came into service.

The Salish Class vessels started running earlier this year, serving routes such as the Gulf Islands and the Comox-Powell River run.

The heat in the kitchens was due to a problem with the HVAC systems, temperatures rose so high that the union became worried that workers were at risk of serious injury.

“It’s things like heat stress and exhaustion, more mistakes get made when things are hot,” BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union president Graeme Johnston told Global News.

BC Ferries dealt with the problem over the summer by turning off the deep-fryers, grills and toasters.

Staff were also rotated through the galley.

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BC Ferries said the heat issues were restricted to the kitchens, and that the shipyard that built the vessels is working to fix what’s been called a “mistake.”

It may, however, require taking vessels out of service.

“We don’t want to impact our customers,” Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ vice-president of engineering, told Global News.

“Our final fix on this will probably be taking a ship out of service for a day or two to do the work to put the final cooling levels in that we need.”

But the problems on the new vessels aren’t solely concentrated in the kitchens.

The Salish Class ships also have slow-moving doors that are difficult for passengers to use.

The new ships have only been in service for a few months, and the company has chalked up the problems to growing pains.

  • With files from Jordan Armstrong

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