A tugboat that a Facebook user said helped bring a BC Ferries vessel to Nanaimo after the ferry experienced a steering issue on April 13. (Photo courtesy of Karen Kuwica/Facebook)

A tugboat that a Facebook user said helped bring a BC Ferries vessel to Nanaimo after the ferry experienced a steering issue on April 13. (Photo courtesy of Karen Kuwica/Facebook)

Tugboats help BC Ferries vessel to Nanaimo after steering issue

Issue meant ferry didn’t arrive until 2 a.m., Facebook user says

BC Ferries has cancelled several Thursday sailings between Nanaimo and Vancouver after one of its vessels experienced a steering issue and needed tugboats to get to Vancouver Island.

BC Ferries issued a notice saying the Queen of Oak Bay, on the 8 p.m. trip out of Horseshoe Bay, was experiencing a mechanical issue with its steering gear just after 11 p.m. on Wednesday. In another update just after 12:30 a.m., the ferry operator said it was working to resolve the steering problem.

On Thursday morning, a BC Ferries spokesperson said the Queen of Oak Bay needed tugboat assistance after stopping during its Departure Bay approach due to a steering pump hydraulic failure. The ferry had 410 passengers and 319 vehicles on board at the time.

One Facebook user said they didn’t arrive at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay until around 2 a.m.

Thursday’s 6:15 a.m. and 10:40 a.m. trips departing Horseshoe Bay and the 8:25 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. sailings out of Departure Bay have been cancelled.

BC Ferries apologized for the cancellations and said the Queen of Coquitlam, the other vessel servicing the route, continues to make its sailings. It also urged customers to use the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay or Tsawwassen to Duke Point routes as alternate options.

“We are waiting for an update from engineering regarding the status of the Queen of Oak Bay and an update from our operations team regarding contingency plans for the day,” Deborah Marshall said in an email.

READ: Person of interest sought after suspicious fires in Nanaimo’s Harewood area


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