Service to Haida Gwaii to be restored at the end of the week amid COVID-19 outbreak: BC Ferries | The Canadian News

BC Ferries now says it hopes to restore regular service to Haida Gwaii by Friday, as it grapples with an outbreak of COVID-19 among key ship personnel.

Voyages on the Northern Adventure, which offers two routes to the archipelago, one from Prince Rupert on the mainland and one from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, have been canceled as of Sunday night.

The company had initially said it likely wouldn’t restore service until early next week.

But in an update Wednesday afternoon, he said regular sailings would resume with an 11 a.m. trip from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on April 29.

Details about the planned resumption of service It can be found here.

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BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said at least 10 people, more than a third of the ship’s crew, were sick. The ferry crew lives on board in two-week rotations.

“Obviously, we had to keep those employees from working until they felt better,” he said.

Marshall said the company was working to get a replacement crew to Prince Rupert to take over operations.

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Meanwhile, the ferry company is arranging flights between Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert, and is looking to arrange similar air service with Port Hardy, Marshall said. People with medical appointments are being prioritized.

“We certainly apologize to our customers, we know people have places to go. We would ask them to contact our call center,” Marshall said.

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“We are trying to organize flights so that we can get people from one place to another.”

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Marshall said the company was able to make a cargo-only sail to Haida Gwaii with a reduced crew on Tuesday night.

“We were able to transport supplies, merchandise, trailers and cars all the way to Haida Gwaii,” he said.

“We will return this afternoon from the Skidegate Terminal, which is Haida Gwaii, and transport goods back to Prince Rupert.”

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In a statement, the BC Ministry of Transportation said it “shares the concerns” of passengers about the “significant impact of service interruption on coastal communities and residents.”

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The company, he said, is committed to addressing staffing issues.

“Ongoing work includes investing in internal training and undertaking a series of recruitment activities,” the statement read.

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“While BC Ferries is a private corporation responsible for its own operational matters, the ministry will discuss its concerns with BC Ferries, including possible remedies to supplement recruitment efforts already underway.”

BC Ferries has previously warned of potential service disruptions due to staff shortages.

The company says it is dealing with retirements, the effects of COVID-19 vaccination policies and problems recruiting internationally during the pandemic.

Experts have said that the maritime industry as a whole is grappling with a global labor shortage.

The company says it is in the midst of a major hiring push and is also reaching out to retired employees in hopes of temporarily filling around 600 positions for the summer season.

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