BC Ferries cancels multiple Vancouver-Victoria sailings, cites ‘staffing issue’

BC Ferries vessel Spirit of Vancouver Island passes between Galiano Island and Mayne Island while traveling from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press

BC Ferries cancelled multiple sailings on its Vancouver-Victoria route on Thursday, citing a “staffing issue.’

“Your safety is important to us, and we require a specific number of crew members on board the vessel to ensure the safety of our passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency and to comply with Transport Canada regulations,” the company said in a service notice.

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A spokesperson for BC Ferries said the staffing problem was related to weather — the Lower Mainland saw 15 to 20 centimetres of snow overnight — rather than COVID-19.

Earlier Thursday, WestJet said it was cancelling 15 per cent of its upcoming flights amid virus-related staffing problems.

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The cancelled sailings affect the Coastal Renaissance ferry, and included the noon and 4 p.m. departures from the Tsawwassen terminal, and the 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. departures from Swartz Bay.

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Sailings of BC Ferries’ Northern Sea Wolf, which services the central coast, including Bella Coola, Ocean Falls and Shearwater, have also been cancelled on Dec. 31, Jan. 1 and Jan. 2 due to “a staffing issue.”

Passengers with bookings on any of the affected sailings will get a full refund, the company said.

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