The Coastal Renaissance ferry will have its engine removed this weekend while BC Ferries struggles with reduced capacity on Nanaimo routes.
BC Ferries CEO Nicholas Jiminez is cautioning travelers to expect delays.
“If you don’t have a reservation, please don’t come,” he says. “And if you must come, potentially look for other alternatives: walk-on, car pooling. That will certainly create a more successful experience for everybody.”
The vessel has been experiencing mechanical troubles for weeks and this week broke down to the point where it had to be towed from Tsawwassen to Departure Bay to complete a route. It’s now off the schedule, meaning there are four fewer sailings on the daily route. Another vessel is picking up some of the affected routes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
In a press conference this morning, Jimenez says the ailing ferry will be taken to a shipyard to pull the engine with help from the company which built the boat. He says until now the Coastal ferries have been the most reliable in the fleet.
Jimenez says BC Ferries is trying to use capacity on other routes to deal with the loss of four daily sailings and is also working with private sector cargo haulers to make sure commercial traffic to and from the island is not significantly interrupted.
He says BC Ferries can’t add any more sailings to the schedule, as they are at capacity and need to leave time overnight for daily maintenance of the fleet.
The repairs are expected to take several weeks.