The islands will have no ferry service between Skidegate and Prince Rupert for more than a week, starting Friday, because the Queen of Prince Rupert has a leaking seal which must be repaired.
The 40-year-old ferry, which has been serving both the Skidegate-Rupert and Rupert-Port Hardy routes since April, will be heading to drydock in Ketchikan, Alaska, this Sunday. That means the islands will be without service after the ferry leaves Thursday night (Nov. 16) until Nov. 27.
BC Ferries spokesperson Mark Stefanson said the leaking seal is not a safety concern, but BC Ferries did want to get it fixed as soon as possible. An opening became available at the drydock in Ketchikan, which is why the ferry is being repaired at this time.
The seal became damaged in mid-October when a crab trap line apparently got wrapped up in one of the propeller stern tubes, Mr. Stefanson said. There are two such seals on the vessel and they will both be replaced while the QPR is in drydock, even though only one is damaged, he said.
There is no other vessel available for the northern routes, so all service will be suspended while the repairs are being done. Mr. Stefanson said BC Ferries is making “every effort” to contact customers with reservations next week. They will be offered a refund or a new reservation, but BC Ferries will not be paying for air travel, he said.
A barge service will be available for commercial carriers traveling between Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii. The barge service will run three times next week.
For updates or more information, try checking online at www.bcferries.com or call the Skidegate terminal at 559-4485.
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