Without a working ferry for the Inside Passage route, BC Ferries cancelled sailings to and from Haida Gwaii this Sunday and Monday.
The Sunday 10:30 a.m. sailing from Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii was cancelled, and so was the 10 a.m. Monday sailing departing Haida Gwaii and the 10 p.m. Monday sailing departing Prince Rupert.
BC Ferries says it plans to restart the Haida Gwaii-Prince Rupert service on Tuesday, Aug. 7 when the Northern Adventure will make a 6 a.m. departure from Prince Rupert and a 4 p.m. departure from Skidegate.
On Wednesday, Aug. 8, another sailing will depart Prince Rupert at 10 p.m. with a 10 p.m. return trip from Haida Gwaii.
The Sunday and Monday sailings were cancelled so the Northern Adventure ferry could replace the Northern Expedition for one round trip on the Inside Passage route between Prince Rupert and Port Hardy.
On Saturday evening, a failed turbocharger on the Northern Expedition forced the captain to skip a stop in Klemtu, where it was unsafe to sail with a single engine.
Instead, the Northern Expedition sailed directly to Prince Rupert, where a specialist technician and new parts are available. BC Ferries hopes the repairs will be finished near midnight Monday, with sea trials to follow.
So long as the repairs work out, the Northern Expedition will head south from Prince Rupert at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
If the repairs do not work as planned, BC Ferries says the Northern Adventure will continue to service Haida Gwaii, with the result that sailings will be lost on the Prince Rupert-Port Hardy route.
BC Ferries also contracted a tug and barge to carry freight from Haida Gwaii to the mainland Monday, adding that no more extra freight deliveries were needed ahead of the Northern Adventure’s arrival on Tuesday.
Brion Bailey, who owns a Masset fishing lodge, is upset at BC Ferries’ decision to re-route the Haida Gwaii ferry onto the Inside Passage route.
Bailey was expecting guests on the Sunday ferry to Haida Gwaii, but they are now stranded in Prince Rupert until Tuesday, leaving some of his rooms empty and his guests with extra expenses.
“Are you going to accommodate Haida Gwaii or Vancouver Island?” Bailey said. “Someone’s made a choice.”
Emergencies aside, Bailey said he thinks BC Ferries should avoid switching ferries from one route to another.
“If I were president of BC Ferries, I’d say just let the chips fall where they may,” he said.
For updates from BC Ferries, visit www.bcferries.com or call 1-888-223-3779.