BC Ferries expects services to resume for a 5:30 p.m. sailing between Vancouver and Langdale after a ferry crashed into a dock Tuesday morning.
The vessel crashed into a dock at the Langdale terminal, causing suspension of sailings between Langdale and Horseshoe Bay. Two other vessels – the Queen of Oak Bay and the Queen of Cowichan – will fill the remaining evening sailings today. Wednesday, the Queen of Coquitlam will be redeployed to the route, says BC Ferries.
The crash damaged both the vessel and terminal marine structures. Inspections have been conducted by regulatory agencies, according to BC Ferries, which says it too will conduct a full investigation into the cause of the incident. The Queen of Surrey is out of service until further notice.
Ron Bignell, who was in line at Langdale, said he heard a big crunch when it all happened.
“They basically somehow managed to avoid the actual dock and run right up on top of the Gambier Island water taxi dock,” Bignell said. “The dock is twisted over and the ferry was a little bit tilted but not bad.”
He said everyone is stuck on board until tugboats can be brought in.
|Michelle Kayes took a picture of the intended terminal and the dock the Queen of Surrey ended up landing on instead, and posted it on Black Press Media's Cloverdale Reporter Facebook page (Facebook/Cloverdale Reporter)
“They tried manoeuvring the Queen of Surrey every which way to dislodge it, but no luck.”
While passengers await help, drivers waiting for the next sailing are turning around.
“Everyone’s leaving now, it’s a mass exodus because who knows how long this will take,” Bignell said. “Of course I was smart enough to reserve for this ferry, so I could get right up close and watch the accident.”
According to BC Ferries, the boat was making its turn towards the berth when it came into contact with the berthing structure. It came to rest on the edge of a fender panel on the pontoon. No one was hurt.
The corporation apologized for the inconvenience.
As of 12:30 p.m., Seaspan Kestrel arrived on scene to help dislodge the vessel.
Ryan Boehm, a witness on scene, said passengers on board were told that it will be closer to 2 or 3 p.m. before any attempts are made to move them.
|A tugboat from Seaspan Kestrel is now on scene trying to dislodge the Queen of Surrey from the dock ( File contributed/ Ryan Boehm)
BC Ferries pointed to other options for travel, such as a water taxi for foot passengers between the government dock at Horseshoe Bay and Gibsons Landing, and from the government dock at Horseshoe Bay and Hopkins Landing. Both are first come, first served and based on space availability.
Drivers can take other ferry routes: Earls Cove and Saltery Bay, Powell River and Comox, Departure Day and Horseshoe Bay or Duke Point and Tsawwassen.
Evening trips between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale will be via the Queen of Cowichan with limited space for cars. Sailings will depart Horseshoe Bay at 5:30 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. and from Langdale at 6:40 and 8:55 p.m.
The 6:35 p.m. sailing departing Horseshoe Bay and the 8:45 p.m. sailing departing Departure Bay have been cancelled.
As of 2:45 p.m., BC Ferries was reporting the 5:30 p.m. sailing from Horseshoe Bay was 69 per cent full with the 7:50 p.m. sailing sitting at 2 per cent. The 6:40 p.m. sailing from Langdale was 76 per cent full.
Passengers with reservations on cancelled sailings will receive an automated call and email stating their booking is cancelled and will be fully refunded.
Once sailings resume, BC Ferries’ standard practice is to first load passengers with a reservation for that sailing, as they were not cancelled. All other customers will be loaded in the order they check in at the terminal.
An update is expected later today from BC Ferries.
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