BC Ferries says if you are planning travel, expect some delays which could last until October as they work towards repairing the Coastal Renaissance’s mechanical issue.
The vessel was taken out of service last week after a failure in its No. 2 driver motor failed, leaving it to be towed to Departure Bay for the motor to be inspected to find the cause.
Director of engineering Stephen Jones says to properly diagnose the problem they need to get at the motor and that will take time.
“A specialist contractor is being retained to diagnose the problem,” he says. “We estimate the earliest we could see the rotor extracted would be Sept. 7.
“We will do what we can to accelerate that forward.”
Jones says the damage to the vessel’s drive shaft could be significant but without a proper analysis they can’t provide an exact timeline for the Coastal Renaissance’s return to service.
“We don’t know the full repair schedule, so it is impossible to know how long it will take,” he says. “We can’t recommission the vessel until we rebuild and conduct a safety inspection.
“We would be unlikely to see this vessel back before mid-October.”
Reliability connecting to the mainland and getting to the island is a big factor for passengers, but Jones says this is an isolated incident but not unexpected considering the demand put on the vessels.
“These are isolated incidents related to the age of our assets, but also related to the way we use them,” he says. “We are quite hard on the ships: we run them 18 hours a day, 330 days a year. We do everything we can to ensure and maintain reliability.”
President and CEO Nicholas Jimenez says the delays customers experienced and will experience, while repairs are conducted are unfortunate and they are working on a plan to prevent line-ups the next two long weekends.
“We are moving one of our vessels from route 3 to route 30 and it will service traffic on Tuesday and Wednesday for the duration,” he says. “This will help mitigate delays, but not entirely.”
Director of customer care Karen Tindall says more than 7,500 passengers made reservations and had their travel plans disrupted, which is unacceptable, but they are amid resolving and compensating those who suffered delays.
“We have 3,700 customers left to notify,” she says. “Customers who were able to cancel in advance were fully refunded, but those who couldn’t were placed in a priority queue for their next sailing.”
This is the second time BC Ferries has had to delay service on a long weekend since July 19 after the Coastal Celebration was put into dry dock for a suspected oil leak from an ineffective blade seal.