No ferry service until Thursday, May 14

  • May. 8, 2009 6:00 a.m.

If you’re planning to leave the islands by ferry, forget about it until Thursday. BC Ferries says the Northern Adventure won’t be back on schedule until Tuesday evening, and then it heads to Port Hardy, not Skidegate. The ferry limped across Hecate Strait Thursday afternoon and evening, arriving in Skidegate many hours late. Engineers confirmed that the shaft bearing on the port shaft had seized. “The bearing disintegrated,” said BC Ferries vice-president of communications Mark Stefanson. “That’s what I’m told by the engineers… Basically, it broke into pieces.” The bearing is a component of the shaft that drives one of the propellers, he said.The vessel sat in Skidegate much of the day Friday, then headed back to Rupert for repairs, on one engine only and with no passengers. All sailings are cancelled until 6:30 pm Tuesday, when the vessel sails from Rupert to Port Hardy. It will arrive back on the islands on Thursday evening, then depart for Prince Rupert (for the first time in more than a week) at 11:59 pm Thursday May 14. Ferries has made arrangements to fly passengers with medical appointments off-island, and those confirmed passengers left stranded are asked to call Ferries’ customer service department, which will deal with enquiries on a case by case basis. BC Ferries is setting up a tug and barge sailing for Sunday night to carry groceries and other crucial supplies.The Northern Adventure just returned to service three weeks ago after a lengthy refit over the winter.The text of the news release from Ferries reads as follows:”Please be advised the following sailings of the Northern Adventure have been cancelled:11:00 pm sailing Prince Rupert-Skidegate (Sunday, May 10th)?11:00 am sailing Skidegate-Prince Rupert (Monday, May 11th)?11:00 pm sailing Prince Rupert-Skidegate (Monday, May 11th)?9:00 am sailing Skidegate-Prince Rupert (Tuesday, May 12th)The vessel is expected to be back in service with the scheduled 6:30 pm sailing on Tuesday, May 12th from Prince Rupert-Bella Bella-Port Hardy.Customers wishing to rebook on future sailings are asked to call the Customer Service Centre toll free at 1-888 BC FERRY (223-3779) on Tuesday AFTER 10 AM.We apologize for any inconvenience experienced as a result of this service interruption.”