Quadra Queen II, built in 1969 is being retired. (BC Ferries photo)

Concerns raised about crew numbers for new BC Ferries

New boats arrived for routes to Sointula-Alert Bay-Port McNeill and Texada Island-Powell River

Islanders were excited about two new additions to the BC Ferry fleet this week.

The Island Aurora and the Island Discovery, two new boats built in Romania, will run on reduced crews of five each, despite having double the capacity of the old ferries they replaced.

An unconfirmed number of BC Ferries crew members have been laid off.

“These ships are more efficient than the older vessels they are replacing, so they require fewer crew,” BC Ferries confirmed in a statement.

Dan Kimmerly with the BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union is concerned that this reduced crew is insufficient to deal with emergencies, as well as basic maintenance.

The union is filing a request for judicial review against Transport Canada’s decision, which approved the five-crew plan.

“The evidence we have, including comments and concerns raised by vessel crew and excluded management, indicates five crew is not adequate to carry out regular routine work, cleaning, and maintenance, let alone respond to an emergency,” he wrote in an email to the Gazette.

“Our union has had many direct and deeply concerning conversations with senior personnel who are worried there is not enough crew to sail the vessel safely. BC Ferries management is fully aware there is not enough crew to perform the regular routine maintenance on the run. We are at a loss for how Transport Canada issued a minimum safe manning certificate of five in view of their own regulations.”

The Island Aurora connects small island communities Sointula and Alert Bay to Vancouver Island at Port McNeill. The Island Discovery runs between Powell River and Texada Island. The boats that have been replaced were nearly 50 years old.

More to come.

BCFerriesJobs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shady Lady: legendary Catalina touches down on Cowichan Lake

Two flying boats test the waters west of Youbou

Under new ownership, Cowichan’s Isles prepare for 2020-21

The Isles have gone through some ups and downs in recent seasons

Cowichan Valley Regional District will reopen three arenas in August

Ice will go back in at Lake Cowichan, Cowichan Community Centre and Kerry Park

Business notes: Salt Spring Therapeutic Riding Association launches program for front-line workers

A sample of what’s happening in Cowichan’s business community

UPDATE: RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

Most Read