Ferries becoming much more cautious following November nightmare

  • Dec. 21, 2009 1:00 p.m.

BC Ferries is being much more cautious about weather conditions before sailing the Northern Adventure across Hecate Strait in the wake of last month’s incident, which saw the ferry trapped and battered for several hours by hurricane-force winds. Ferries cancelled Sunday night’s sailing from Prince Rupert to Skidegate (Dec. 20) after Environment Canada predicted waves of three to four metres in Hecate Strait. Spokesperson Deborah Marshall said the Northern Adventure should not sail if waves are higher than 3.6 metres, and the crew took the extra precaution of contacting the weather office directly to confirm the forecast. “We looked at the weather forecast and erred on the side of caution,” she said. “Safety was the concern.” In fact, the waves in Hecate Strait did not get any higher than three metres on Sunday night. Ms Marshall said BC Ferries was aware that the Sunday ferry was full of freight, mail, groceries and islanders coming home for the holiday season, but that there was room for all passengers and vehicles on the Monday night sailing. A few days earlier, BC Ferries made an unusual schedule change due to warnings of a massive storm that hit the islands on Thursday (Dec. 17). Ms Marshall said the crew decided to sail to Skidegate on Wednesday in advance of the storm, a day earlier than scheduled. The ferry waited out the weather in Skidegate, then sailed back to Rupert on Friday morning, a bit later than the scheduled departure of late Thursday night. Only 20 of the 46 passengers who had booked a spot on Thursday’s sailing from Prince Rupert to Skidegate made it onto the Northern Adventure for its early departure, Ms Marshall said. But if the ferry hadn’t left in advance of the storm, it might not have come to the islands at all, she said. By Friday morning, when the weather cleared, the ferry would still be sitting in Rupert and would be almost 19 hours behind schedule, and it’s likely that BC Ferries would have decided to cancel the trip to the islands and left for Port Hardy that afternoon, keeping on schedule. “We adjusted our schedule to make the best of a possibly very bad situation,” she said. “We know many customers are travelling to visit family and friends for the holidays and we wanted to have the least possible disruption to their plans.” The Northern Adventure was carrying 163 passengers, 50 vehicles, four drop trailers, three commercial vehicles and three oversized vehicles when it left Skidegate on Friday, she said.

Just Posted

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Another windstorm expected Monday, causing ferry delay

With another windstorm expected to hit Haida Gwaii on Monday afternoon, BC… Continue reading

Jason Alsop, Gaagwiis, elected Haida Nation president

Jason Alsop, Gaagwiis, is the newly elected president of the Council of… Continue reading

On the Wing: Small birds and berries

By Margo Hearne Into the chill. The Christmas Bird Counts will be… Continue reading

Saturday storm to hit Haida Gwaii with 80 to 100 km/h winds

A strong southeast storm is expected to hit coastal areas of Haida… Continue reading

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

More B.C. Indigenous students graduating high school: report

70% of Indigenous students graduated, compared to 86% across all B.C. students

2 facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog found in B.C.

Amy Hui-Yu Lin and Glenn Mislang have been charged with causing an animal to continue to be in distress

Out of the doghouse: B.C. city lifts ban on pup who barked too much at dog park

Cameron the Shetland sheepdog is allowed back into Uplands off-leash dog park under some conditions.

No flood of extremist returnees to Canada expected, federal report says

The report says some 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad

Canada-China relations turn icy over arrest of Chinese exec

The Huawei case has threatened to complicate U.S.-China efforts to resolve a bitter trade dispute.

Prosecutor signs off on former B.C. Liberal government’s quick-wins probe

David Butcher said in a statement released Monday that the RCMP recommended charges under the Elections Act

Canadian physicist who won Nobel Prize touts science for the sake of science

Donna Strickland, 59, said securing the field’s highest honour has given her a significant new platform

Too many die in heavy truck crashes, B.C. auditor says

Province has no mandatory driver training for commercial vehicles

Most Read