Every day since Wednesday, July 19th, BC Ferries has been forced to cancel eight sailings per day between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay due to mechanical issues with the Coastal Celebration vessel.
The vessel was abruptly taken out of service following a series of delays and occasional cancelled sailings last week. Consequently, a decision was made to tow the Coastal Celebration to a dry dock for a thorough assessment and necessary repairs.
Now, BC Ferries is saying that the key vessel is slated to return to service by Friday, July 28th.
On Monday, it entered the dry dock for service on an ineffective blade seal. The blade assembly was assessed and inspected by professionals who were able to confirm the components were installed correctly and the issue lied in the parts themselves.
All the blade seals are now being replaced over the next two days and if all goes according to plan, the Coastal Celebration will be back to work this weekend.
Last weekend, with the Celebration out of commission, the Taylor Swift concert in Seattle and the Blue Jays versus Mariners game, BC Ferries customers saw hours-long wait times with the leftover queue from the weekend only clearing on Tuesday.
At one point their website was quoting a nine-sailing wait for people to get on, but that was later reported to be a mistake on behalf of the BC Ferries webpage.
BC Ferries also told Victoria Buzz, many of their issues with this past weekend was people not showing up for their reservations, which are held until 30 minutes before the sailing time. Even on Tuesday morning, 10 to 20% of their reservation holders did not show up for their sailing.
The ferry service does warn that before being entered back into service, the Coastal Celebration will have to pass tests to prove it is sea-worthy for the weekend.
Customers with bookings on the Coastal Celebration on Friday are advised to arrive as planned. The customers will be contacted directly if there are any changes to the vessel’s scheduled return.