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Anchors failed to deploy during B.C. ferry’s ‘hard landing’ at Tsawwassen terminal: TSB

A vehicle ramp on the Spirit of Vancouver Island was damaged after the ferry hit the dock at the Tsawwassen terminal, leaving some passengers unable to disembark for hours. Nancy Edwards / submitted

A collision between a BC Ferries vessel and concrete pilings at the Tsawwassen terminal was a result of the anchors failing to deploy, a Transportation Safety Board investigation has found.

The crash happened as the Spirit of Vancouver Island was arriving at the terminal around 4:30 p.m. on April 18.

Read more: BC Ferries vessel damaged after ‘hard landing’ at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

According to investigators, the ferry failed to respond to a helm control as it was pulling into Berth 3 at the terminal, prompting the captain to order crew to drop anchors.

Click to play video: 'Vehicle falls from the upper car deck at Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal' Vehicle falls from the upper car deck at Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal
Vehicle falls from the upper car deck at Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal – Dec 1, 2020

But when the bridge crew pressed the button to release first one, then both of the anchors, the remote system failed to respond, the report said.

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The ferry ended up striking a concrete abutment at a speed of 5.4 knots.

Passengers on board were left stranded as the crew conducted a damage assessment — some disembarking nearly four and a half hours later.

Click to play video: 'BC Ferries’ passengers stranded at sea for hours after mechanical breakdown' BC Ferries’ passengers stranded at sea for hours after mechanical breakdown
BC Ferries’ passengers stranded at sea for hours after mechanical breakdown – Jun 29, 2020

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but two crew members and a passenger reported minor injuries the following day.

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Read more: ‘There was no warning’: How a collision with a Russian freighter 50 years ago nearly cut a B.C. ferry in half

The TSB investigation was unable to determine why the anchors failed to deploy.

BC Ferries has since updated its anchor stowage and release training and protocols, the agency said.

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