Saturday, May 09, 2009

Northern Adventure to be sidelined again for repairs

Three weeks out of refit and it's back to the repair dock for the Northern Adventure. Having spent a good portion of the winter months in dry dock getting a complete refit, it probably had been hoped that the Northern routes would now see some smooth sailing through the summer months, but as things turn out, that isn't to be.

The BC Ferry servicing the Rupert to Queen Charlottes run has been rendered inoperative due to bearing problems suffered this past week on one of its regularly schedule crossings to the Queen Charlotte Islands.

BC Ferries has posted this service notice on its website outlining the details of the service interruptions, with the Northern Adventure expected back in service with the scheduled 6:30 pm sailing on Tuesday, May 12th from Prince Rupert-Bella Bella-Port Hardy.

The first time it will return to the Charlottes will not be until Thursday evening May 14th.

The Queen Charlotte Islands Observer provided a review of the details regarding the latest troubles and how it will impact and inconvenience residents on Haida Gwaii.

No ferry service until Thursday, May 14
Queen Charlotte Islands Observer
Friday, May 8, 2009

If you're planning to leave the islands by ferry, forget about it until Thursday.BC Ferries says the Northern Adventure won't be back on schedule until Tuesday evening, and then it heads to Port Hardy, not Skidegate.

The ferry limped across Hecate Strait Thursday afternoon and evening, arriving in Skidegate many hours late. Engineers confirmed that the shaft bearing on the port shaft had seized."

The bearing disintegrated," said BC Ferries vice-president of communications Mark Stefanson. "That's what I'm told by the engineers... Basically, it broke into pieces."

The bearing is a component of the shaft that drives one of the propellers, he said.The vessel sat in Skidegate much of the day Friday, then headed back to Rupert for repairs, on one engine only and with no passengers.

All sailings are cancelled until 6:30 pm Tuesday, when the vessel sails from Rupert to Port Hardy.It will arrive back on the islands on Thursday evening, then depart for Prince Rupert (for the first time in more than a week) at 11:59 pm Thursday May 14.

Ferries has made arrangements to fly passengers with medical appointments off-island, and those confirmed passengers left stranded are asked to call Ferries' customer service department, which will deal with enquiries on a case by case basis.

BC Ferries is setting up a tug and barge sailing for Sunday night to carry groceries and other crucial supplies.The Northern Adventure just returned to service three weeks ago after a lengthy refit over the winter.

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