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BC Ferries cancelling 48 sailings ahead of Canada Day long weekend

Critical problems discovered during annual refit delay Coastal Celebration’s return to service
BC Ferries’ Queen of New Westminster at Swartz Bay. Reservations over the long weekend for the Coastal Celebration have been moved to other sailings. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)

Booking cancellations have been averted but BC Ferries is cancelling 48 sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen.

The Coastal Celebration’s return to service has been delayed after unexpected complications with its propulsion systems were discovered during dry dock repairs. While it was supposed to return from its annual refit by June 15, it now won’t return in time for the Canada Day long weekend.

From June 28 to July 3, there will be eight fewer daily sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay than originally scheduled.

The Coastal Celebration is now expected to return to service on July 4, pending the completion of repairs and successful sea trails. Those sea trails are scheduled to take place July 2 near Swartz Bay.

While in dry dock, crews discovered an issue with the stern tube bearings and the rudder stock – both are critical to the safe operation of the vessel. BC Ferries noted the repairs are complex and required significant crew hours to execute and test – most of which are occurring on overtime at night and during the weekend.

BC Ferries warned residents in the Swartz Bay area may hear engine noise for extended periods of time during the sea trials and apologized for any inconvenience.

More than 6,600 bookings for the vessel over the weekend have been reassigned to the Spirt of Vancouver Island, Spirit of British Columbia and the Queen of New Westminster.

“I want to thank customers who agreed to be rebooked on alternate sailings for their understanding and flexibility. I can assure all travellers that our engineers are working closely with shipyard crews to expedite repairs so the Coastal Celebration can safely get back on the water as soon as possible,” said CEO and president Nicolas Jimenez in a statement.

BC Ferries warned travellers without reservations that space for standby vehicles is limited on sailings and encouraged walk-on passengers. Extra traffic control personnel will be at the terminals to help with expected lines and sailing waits.

BC Ferries will provide updates over the course of the weekend.

ALSO READ: Swartz Bay cancellations expected as BC Ferries launches summer schedule

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