Travellers warned of B.C. Ferries delays, cancellations during peak season | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Travellers warned of B.C. Ferries delays, cancellations during peak season

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B.C. Ferries is struggling to find staff this spring and summer season, meaning passengers may experience delays and cancellations.

“The impact of crew shortages at B.C. Ferries is expected to continue through the spring and into summer, affecting sailing times and plans to provide additional service on some routes,” according to B.C. Ferries’ press release.

B.C. Ferries is not the only marine organization facing recruitment challenges. The states of Washington and Alaska, along with New Zealand and interior ferries here in B.C. have announced the impact crew shortages are having on sailings and the level of service they can provide, according to the press release.

The shortages are due to higher than expected retirements in key shipboard positions, the impact of vaccination policies and difficulties recruiting international candidates due to COVID-19, as well as the 25-year global shortage of professional mariners.

This peak summer season is also expected to be busier than usual as more people are travelling following the easement of pandemic restrictions.

“The flow of travellers off Vancouver Island in slow travel periods is also an emerging trend,” according to B.C. Ferries.

Over the years, B.C. Ferries has created staffing pools with crew held in reserve, cross-training employees so they can be redeployed from one location to another as required, and overtime pay for employees who cover gaps. Despite this many industries are facing very significant shifts in the employment market, according to B.C. Ferries.

The most difficult positions to fill have been licensed positions on the vessels. The Crown corporation has spent $23 million a year on internal development and training and is undertaking a significant recruitment push including presence at multiple career fairs and collaborating with agencies like WorkB.C. and reaching out to retired employees to bring them back for the short term.

"Some potential service interruptions may be predictable and mitigated by changing sailing times. However, isolated sailing cancellations may be experienced due to factors like crew illness. B.C. Ferries’ goal is to avoid service disruptions wherever it can, to communicate service disruptions as soon as they become known and to minimize the impact these disruptions have on the travelling public. Customers are encouraged to finalize travel plans on bookable routes by booking ahead," according to B.C. Ferries.

For employment opportunities, visit the B.C. Ferries website.


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