Compass problem delays ferry

  • Mar. 24, 2004 5:00 p.m.

Problems with the Queen of the North’s navigation equipment caused the ferry a day’s delay last Sunday.
The gyrocompass-the main compass that guides the steering, autopilot and radar systems-stopped working. The ferry has a magnetic as well as an electronic compass, but the captain decided not to sail until the gyrocompass could be repaired. “It’s one of the pieces we felt we could not do without,” said Captain Gord Nettleton of BC Ferry Services, Inc.
The captain discovered the problem alongside the ferry dock as the ship was about to begin its Sunday night trip across Hecate Strait. Replacement parts were flown to Rupert Monday, and the repairs completed by 8:30 pm. At 9:00 pm the ferry sailed.
The vessels’ navigation systems were checked over during its recent refit, says Capt. Nettleton. The breakdown has nothing to do with the refit or the age of the ship, he says. A breakdown like this could happen at anytime. There has been no history of trouble with the gyrocompass, he says.
The Queen of the North’s schedule had to be revised as because of the delay. It arrives in Skidegate at 9:00 pm Thursday and leaves at11:59 pm, after which the regular schedule will resume-weather permitting.
Passengers are advised to get in touch with ferry services to confirm sailing times.

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