Epic voyage for BC Ferry passengers after malfunction extends Gulf Island trip

VICTORIA — A mechanical problem on a BC Ferries vessel turned a 40-minute sailing into a four-hour marathon for passengers travelling through British Columbia's southern Gulf Islands.

Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall says the Salish Raven had a problem Thursday with one of its two thrusters while making the short trip from Pender Island to Swartz Bay, just north of Victoria.

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The ferry set out at 9:10 a.m. and was due to dock just before 10 a.m., but Marshall says it idled off Swartz Bay until nearly 1:30 p.m., when a tug was able to assist it with the docking.

She says all 85 passengers safely left the ship and technicians are now checking the troubled bow thruster to determine what caused the malfunction.

The Salish Raven has been in service for just 30 months and Marshall says it can manoeuvre with a single thruster, but safety procedures require a tug to assist with docking if two functioning thrusters are not available.

BC Ferries replaced the Salish Raven with another vessel and says more information about future sailings will be released as soon as it's available.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2019

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