British Columbia

B.C. ferry terminal closed after hard landing

BC Ferries closed its Duke Point terminal near Nanaimo after a vessel rammed the dock just before 3 p.m. PT Tuesday.
Crew members inspect the areas of impact after the BC Ferries vessel Coastal Inspiration made a hard landing while trying to dock at Duke Point on Tuesday. (Ron Forsythe/CBC)

BC Ferries closed its Duke Point terminal near Nanaimo after a vessel rammed the dock just before 3 p.m. PT Tuesday.

Ferries officials said the ferry "Coastal Inspiration" made a hard landing, which heavily damaged the lower vehicle ramp onshore and also caused some minor damage to the vessel.

BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said there was a warning to passengers to brace just before the impact.

"There were two injuries reported, two soft tissue injuries, one to a crew member and one to a passenger," she said. "There has been significant damage."

Many people were already in their vehicles or were waiting mid-deck to exit the ferry on foot when the crash occurred.

Some foot passengers reportedly disembarked the ship, but travellers with vehicles were forced to remain onboard until a seaworthiness assessment could be completed.

Just after 3:30 p.m., BC Ferries announced that the Duke Point terminal would be closed until further notice.

Ron Forsythe, who is among the passengers who became stuck on board, said there was little warning before the crash.

A view of the damaged ramp at Duke Point, and of damage to the port side ferry door. (Ron Forsythe/CBC)

"There was a quick announcement, seconds before impact and I believe the captain, I believe what I heard was something like: 'Deck, hang on,'" Forsythe said.

"I ride the ferries quite a bit and that landing was as hard as I've ever experienced."

Tug boat called in

Just before 4 p.m., BC Ferries stated that the Coastal Inspiration would head to the nearby Departure Bay terminal to offload its passengers, and that the vessel would be assisted during the trip by a tug boat.

At 5 p.m., the Coastal Inspiration was underway again. (Ron Forsythe/CBC)

At 5 p.m., the Coastal Inspiration pulled away from Duke Point and began the trip to Departure Bay.

BC Ferries said it had diverted the remainder of its sailings to and from Duke Point and that ground transportation between Departure Bay and Duke Point would be arranged as needed for customers on immediately affected sailings.

 On Nov. 18, the Queen of Coquitlam was slightly damaged when the ship hit a wing wall at the Departure Bay terminal.

"I know it is unfortunate we've had the two incidents, but we do over 500 sailings a day," Marshall said.

With files from The Canadian Press