The Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre comprises several buildings along the waterfront in Bamfield, B.C. The centre is accessed by land or by water. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Bamfield boat service increases following fatal bus accident

Science students taking MV Frances Barkley to Bamfield marine station

Lady Rose Marine Services has seen a marked increase in students taking its passenger vessel to Bamfield in the weeks following a tragic bus accident on the gravel road leading to the coastal Vancouver Island community.

Two students from the University of Victoria were killed and several others injured when a bus rolled over an embankment at the 36-kilometre marker of the gravel Bamfield Main road, near the Carmanah Main Junction, on Sept. 13.

The bus, carrying 48 people including first-year marine biology students from UVic, was enroute to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre for a weekend workshop.

READ: Two killed after bus crashes taking university students to Bamfield

“We’ve been inundated (with) students going to the marine station, which is good,” Lady Rose Marine Services owner Mike Surrell said.

“We’re doing a special rate for kids. Because of the incident that happened with the bus we’ve purposely dropped our rate to less than half so students can afford to get to the marine station.”

The MV Frances Barkley passenger and cargo vessel makes regular sailings on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to Bamfield, and Surrell said learning institutions have also been booking charters for alternate days.

“We’ve been finding some of the classes have been doing their teachings while they’re sailing,” he added.

Surrell has teamed up with Bill Surry from the Alberni Athletic Hall to provide accommodation for students the night before early-morning sailings.

“After the accident I talked with Mike (Surrell) and Kelly (Clement, a field trip coordinator at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre). Now the UVic people got a hold of me last week because they said they have three or four classes, including one later this month,” Surry said.

The Alberni Athletic Hall has dorm facilities available—they provide dorms for the West Coast Hockey Prep Camp for several weeks each summer—with 40 new mattresses available. “We haven’t got them put away for winter. We decided we could put them on the floor upstairs and (students) just bring their bedrolls and sleep up there,” Surry said.

“We want to try and keep them off the road as much as possible. That road, especially coming into winter, is not a great road to be travelling at night.”

A spokesperson from the University of Victoria couldn’t confirm whether the university has been sending students to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre aboard the MV Frances Barkley. UVic is one of several post-secondary institutions that send students to BMSC for marine science classes, he said.

He added that UVic continues to conduct an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

RELATED: U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

RELATED: Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

Surrell also owns a former BC Ferries car ferry that he purchased in 2016 with the intent to convert it to a passenger and cargo vessel. As soon as he brought it to the Alberni harbour he was flooded with requests to keep it as a car ferry and provide car service to Bamfield and Ucluelet. Surrell is still waiting for government approval for such a service.

READ: Potential vehicle ferry from Alberni harbour to Bamfield and Ucluelet

READ: Ucluelet mayor says highway closure shows need for car ferry between Port Alberni and West Coast

There is no infrastructure in place in Port Alberni, Bamfield or Ucluelet to accommodate car ferry service, only passenger and cargo service.

Interest in the ferry has increased again since the Bamfield Main bus accident, Surrell said.

“We’ve been inundated with car ferry requests,” he said.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A former BC Ferries vessel sits idle in the water across from Lady Rose Marine Services in Port Alberni’s harbour on a foggy Saturday morning in March 2019. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Just Posted

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Helping with Christmas bird count is ‘citizen science’

Port Alberni’s bird count will be Dec. 28, 2019; volunteers are needed

BUDGET 2020: Port Alberni Fire Department needs new equipment

Police services ask for funding for community policing office

Child care sector feels the squeeze in Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

There are five children for every licensed child care space in the ACRD

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Most Read