BC Ferries has been forced to cancel eight sailings on its three main routes between Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo on Friday because of a mechanical breakdown on Thursday evening.

Cancellations

  • 6:30 a.m. Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay
  • 8:30 a.m. Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay
  • 7:45 a.m. Tsawwassen to Departure Bay
  • 10:15 a.m. Departure Bay to Tsawwassen
  • 2 p.m. Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay
  • 4 p.m. Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen
  • 6  p.m. Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay
  • 8 p.m. Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen

The incident happened on the 5 p.m. sailing of the Queen of Oak Bay about 10 minutes before its scheduled arrival at the Horseshoe Bay terminal when one of four engines on the vessel  broke down. 

The vessel came to an abrupt stop, fire alarms went off and smoke could be seen. BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall says there was no fire, but there was some smoke because of the engine failure.

After engineers sorted out the problem, the captain managed to bring the vessel safely into Horseshoe Bay under the power of one engine. There were no injuries in the incident, said Marshall.

But the vessel was taken out of service for repairs, forcing BC Ferries to reroute several vessels and cancel eight sailings on three routes on Friday.

Marshall says the accident could impact extra sailings on Sunday but that won't be known until the Queen of Oak Bay is assessed.

Recent crashes

The Queen of Oak Bay is the same vessel that crashed into a marina in Horseshoe Bay in 2005 after a mechanical failure caused the vessel to veer out of control. The C-Class vessel is 36 years old.

In November of 2011 its sister ship, the Queen of Coquitlam, crashed into the dock at Departure Bay in Nanaimo, damaging both the vessel and the dock. The C-Class vessel is 31 years old. Both vessels were refitted in the past nine years.

Then in December the Coastal Inspiration crashed into the dock at the Duke Point ferry terminal forcing BC Ferries to close the terminal for several months.

The crash was caused by a failure in the electronic control system for the propeller, which stopped it from producing any thrust, and three available back-up systems were not deployed, according BC Ferries.

The Coastal Inspiration is expected to return to service on Jan. 20. The Coastal Class vessel is about four years old.