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

Bowser attic blaze contained by fire crews

Early-morning stove fire spread to attic

The Old Schoolhouse Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach to re-open on Aug. 11

Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

COVID-19: SD69 working on how to organize schools for planned fall re-opening

Qualicum School District required to have plan to ministry by Aug. 26

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

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

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

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

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

Most Read