Sailings of the BC Ferries vessel Coastal Celebration were suspended at 2 p.m. today (July 19) as the ship continues to experience mechanical malfunctions.
But BC Ferries said sailings will return once repairs for the vessel are completed in dry dock. This will affect the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay route, limiting the number of sailings to eight fewer a day starting July 20.
Dry dock space has been secured for Monday, July 24 and the vessel is anticipated to return to service late next week, said BC Ferries. All reserved traffic for today (July 19) will be accommodated on alternate sailings.
Customers with bookings on all cancelled sailings will be notified by B.C. Ferries to let them know if their is space available to move their reservation to an alternate sailing later in the day, or if their booking must be cancelled with fares and fees refunded.
Travellers without a confirmed booking are encouraged by B.C. Ferries to consider travelling as a foot passenger as standby vehicle spaces will be reduced while the vessel is out of service.
“BC Ferries apologizes for any inconvenience customers may experience as a result of these cancellations,” read a statement.
Repairs on the boat are needed due to a suspected oil leak that was reported by a crew earlier this week. An ineffective blade seal was the cause of the hydraulic oil leak as found by an underwater dive team, said BC Ferries. The oil has been classified as a light mineral oil leaking from the blade seal.
Before the vessel enters the dry dock, it will be surrounded by a containment boom. The equipment that is the source of the leak will be shut down while the vessel is waiting for repairs and a spill response team will be closely monitoring situation.
It has not been confirmed yet if the leak is related to the work carried out during the vessel’s recent annual refit, but BC Ferries believes a strong possibility exists, said a news release. Transport Canada monitored the Coastal Celebration as it performed its regular operations on July 17, 18 and 19 and determined that the vessel be removed from the service until its repair was complete.