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The BC Ferries vessel Queen of New Westminster was built in 1964, carries 270 cars, and has a maximum displacement of 6,129 tonnes. (BC Ferries)

Mechanical issues on the Queen of New Westminster have forced BC Ferries to cancel sailings between the mainland and Vancouver Island for the third day in a row.

The problems started Friday afternoon, just as motorists geared up for long weekend travel.

"We have had a crew working around the clock trying to rectify the situation with the Queen of New Westminster," said spokesperson Deborah Marshall. "They're certainly making progress but unfortunately they haven't solved the problem yet."

The 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. PT sailings from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay have been cancelled, as have the 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. sailings from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen.

Three ferries will run the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route Sunday, and Marshall said that should be enough to handle the anticipated volume.

But she said it's hoped the ferry will be up and running in time for what's expected to be a busy travel day Monday.

"[Monday] we do expect to be quite busy at our Swartz Bay terminal with traffic heading back from the long weekend, so we're hoping to have the ship back in service," Marshall said. "They're working very hard they just haven't quite solved the whole problem yet."