Ongoing “crewing challenges” are to blame for BC Ferries’ decision to scrap multiple sailings between Vancouver Island and the Mainland this weekend, according to the corporation.
BC Ferries issued service notices advising of cancellations leading into and during the weekend on the Queen of New Westminster, which sails from Sidney’s Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen and vice versa.
Friday, June 17th cancellations include the 4 p.m. departing Tsawwassen and 6 p.m. departing Swartz Bay, while upcoming Sunday, June 19th cancellations include:
- 4 p.m. departing Tsawwassen
- 6 p.m. departing Swartz Bay
- 8 p.m. departing Tsawwassen
- 10 p.m. departing Swartz Bay
BC Ferries says it’s contacting affected customers to let them know if space is available on alternate sailings or if their booking must be cancelled and refunded.
“We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience you may experience as a result of these cancellations,” it said.
But sailing cancellations may come as no surprise.
As a staff shortage continues to plague BC Ferries, it prompted a warning to customers earlier this year to expect delays and altered sailing schedules into the peak summer season.
In March, BC Ferries said vaccination policies, troubles recruiting international candidates, and a shortage of professional mariners were fueling hiring challenges.
“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,” reads the latest notice.
Earlier this month, BC Ferries also cancelled multiple June 6th sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay due to a “crewing issue.”
“The decision to cancel a sailing in these circumstances is made when we have exhausted all options to find replacement crew. That said, if circumstances change and replacement crew become available, we would notify customers immediately,” it added.
For the latest on route statuses, visit the BC Ferries Service Notices page for details.