BC Ferries loses ship to repairs, long weekend sailings will be impacted

Click to play video: 'BC Ferries ship refit will cause long weekend delays'
BC Ferries ship refit will cause long weekend delays
Work on BC Ferries' Coastal Celebration is taking longer than expected, and the company is cancelling eight sailings on the busy Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay route through the long weekend. Richard Zussman reports. – Jun 28, 2023

More than 6,600 BC Ferries bookings have been reassigned after the organization announced it has removed a ship from service.

The ship’s removal was due to an “ unplanned” and “extended refit.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. Ferries warns of busy long weekend travel'
B.C. Ferries warns of busy long weekend travel

The Coastal Celebration is out of service with repairs to its propulsion system, which are taking longer than expected.

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“Unfortunately, the refit work is taking longer than we originally had anticipated,” said Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries’ executive director of public affairs.

BC Ferries is warning its passengers that the ship’s removal will decrease overall passenger and vehicle capacity between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay for the coming Canada Day long weekend.

Click to play video: 'BC Ferries warns of possible summer disruptions'
BC Ferries warns of possible summer disruptions

While BC Ferries said it has been able to move all reservations to other ships, those planning on using the ferries without bookings may have to wait a significant amount of time for their ride.

“Customers who are planning on travelling on standby or without a booking reservation can (be) facing multiple sailing waits at peak times this weekend,” Marshall said.

In the effort to secure sailings for those who booked reservations, BC Ferries has had to eat into allocated drive-up space on their ships.

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“We have about 50 extra spaces for standby traffic,” Marshall said. “We do expect the drive-up space to be extremely limited this weekend between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay.

“If customers are planning on travelling without a reservation, they should consider travelling as a foot passenger on that route.”

Click to play video: 'BC Ferries seeks input on all-you-can-eat buffet replacement'
BC Ferries seeks input on all-you-can-eat buffet replacement

B.C. Premier David Eby was asked about the service impacts at a press conference on Wednesday.

“They face some significant challenges with finding staff. They have the same supply chain issues that many businesses are facing in getting parts and getting access to repair ferries,” he said.

“We are seeing some of those impacts. I do not find it acceptable but I do understand the challenges that BC Ferries faces.”

From June 28 to July 3, there will be eight fewer daily sailings than originally planned between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay.

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BC Ferries said all ticket booths at the Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen terminals will be open, and extra traffic flaggers will be in place to deal with long lines and sailing waits.

Passengers are urged to stay up to date by visiting the BC Ferries website and Twitter account for information.

The Coastal Celebration is expected to return to service on Tuesday, July 4.

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