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Massive ferry delays in Nanaimo and Tsawwassen following passenger arrest

Click to play video: 'Disturbance on ship causes major disruption for BC Ferries'
Disturbance on ship causes major disruption for BC Ferries
BC Ferries, the main passenger link between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland, cancelled eight sailings Friday afternoon as it dealt with the fallout from a shipboard disturbance Thursday night. Two men aboard the Coastal Inspiration caused a disturbance concerning enough for staff to return to the dock. RCMP arrested one man, while the other walked off the ship and wasn't found until Friday. Aaron McArthur reports – Aug 26, 2022

BC Ferries sailings resumed out of Duke Point and Tsawwassen early Friday morning, but long delays are expected after a passenger was arrested.

“There was a police incident onboard the Coastal Inspiration Thursday evening, which has had a ripple effect on service (Friday),” said spokesperson Deborah Marshall.

Click to play video: 'Massive ferry delays in Nanaimo and Tsawwassen follow overnight police incident'
Massive ferry delays in Nanaimo and Tsawwassen follow overnight police incident

“We had our crews work extensive, excessive hours Thursday night on two of our vessels on the Tsawwassen to Duke Point run, and as a result, we’ve had to stand them down for Friday evening sailings, due to crew fatigue.”

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Final sailings for Friday from Tsawwassen to Duke Point are scheduled to leave around 3 p.m.

“This has also caused some delays on the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay run, so we will be running behind on that route as well,” Marshall said.

All three of the major ferry routes from Metro Vancouver to Vancouver Island are expected to have large delays.

BC Ferries is recommending that anyone without a reservation consider rescheduling their travel plans until Saturday.

Click to play video: 'Mechanical issues cause BC Ferries cancellations, lengthy delays'
Mechanical issues cause BC Ferries cancellations, lengthy delays

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Police had been called to the Coastal Inspiration after it had left the Nanaimo terminal, but soon turned around and went back.

Nanaimo RCMP said officers were called to the terminal around 9 p.m. for a report of a vehicle passenger “behaving erratically aboard the ferry.”

Click to play video: 'Delays continue on BC Ferries Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route'
Delays continue on BC Ferries Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route

In a news release, Const. Gary O’Brien said one person was arrested for “being intoxicated by drugs.”

“Officers were told that two adult men were associated to the vehicle and that the second person could not be accounted for,” O’Brien said.

CCTV footage showed the missing man may have walked off the vessel when it returned to Nanaimo and left in a waiting taxi.

“When the individual who was arrested on the ferry is sober, he will be interviewed prior to his release. At this time, there is nothing to support foul play and this incident is being treated as missing person’s investigation,” O’Brien said.

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Passengers aboard another ferry, the Coastal Renaissance, were also forced to sit and wait for hours at Duke Point while the RCMP boarded the Coastal Inspiration for investigation.

“We’ve been here since 5:45 a.m. for a reservation for the 7 a.m. sailing,” said Emma Keeler, who was waiting at the Tsawwassen terminal, around 7:15 a.m.

“There’s no ferry employees around to let people know what’s happening. There were cars lined up past Tsawwassen Mills [shopping mall]. There was no email communication for reservations either.”

The long lineups caused further chaos with some people reportedly driving on the wrong side of the road to try and enter the terminal.

Keeler said three police officers had arrived around 6:30 a.m. to help direct traffic.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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