In a media release Monday, BC Ferries announced they are anticipating additional unplanned service disruptions on all routes over the coming months.
According to BC Ferries, potential disruptions due to the Omicron variant and regular cold and flu season are expected to affect crew availability.
They have also predicted severe winter storms, vaccination policies that have reduced crew availability and the global shortage of professional mariners making it difficult to hire replacement staff to also have an impact.
“Crewing is a complex, logistical task that considers the individual’s qualifications and the number of skilled mariners required for the various roles onboard each vessel, as well as where they live and work,” said BC Ferries.
“Regulations require these positions to be filled with the appropriate crew, or the vessel cannot sail. Even a small number of crew that are unavailable to sail can have a significant impact on service if replacements are challenging to find.”
BC Ferries hopes to avoid service disruptions wherever it can and effectively communicate them when they do arise. They are also looking into other ways to minimize the impact the disruptions of sailings have on customers.
“[We] understand the importance of providing reliable ferry service, especially for ferry dependent communities and customers who use the ferry system to get to work, school, medical appointments, or to visit family and friends,” BC Ferries added.
“[We] will do [our] utmost to avoid and minimize disruption to service, even when faced with a combination of factors. While a route may operate on a modified schedule, no route is expected to be suspended completely.”