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LETTER: BC Ferries failures result from lack of preventative maintenance


The latest failure of a BC Ferry seems to me to indicate a systemic lack of understanding of preventative maintenance. The goal of this practice is to predicate certain failures of major consequence and to create plans to prevent major outages. This practice works well in large industrial plants as it is essential for eliminating large losses of profit. It is the difference between proactive and reactive maintenance.

In the case of BC Ferries, it is the need for reliable service for customers who are totally dependent on this essential service for coastal transportation. Large companies depend on consultants to design preventative schedules and are usually very successful in achieving this goal. If BC Ferries is not using such a service, it is the result of management not understanding the principles of proactivity. For instance, if vessels have a particular weak point, such as the entire drive train, that system must be given microscopic inspections or total replacement.

Comparable coastal transportation companies have fleets far older than BC Ferries but are able to provide very reliable service nonetheless. Six of the nine large BC Ferries servicing the Lower Mainland to the Island are less than 30 years old, in fact, the four Coastal Class ferries are only 16 years old but they seem to be the most vulnerable to failures.

How much longer must the travelling public suffer from the bumbling of BC Ferries’ management. It’s extremely frustrating, indeed.

Bruce Morrison