BC Ferries is warning of possible service disruptions in the coming months as the Omicron variant spreads. (Don Denton/file photo)

BC Ferries is warning of possible service disruptions in the coming months as the Omicron variant spreads. (Don Denton/file photo)

BC Ferries anticipating service disruptions in coming months as Omicron spikes

Company expects inter-island routes to be especially affected by crew shortages

BC Ferries is expecting crew shortages in the coming months as rising Omicron cases combine with winter weather, vaccination policies and a lack of global professional mariners.

Any situations where a lack of properly-trained crew is unavailable to safely run a trip will see sailings delayed or cancelled, the company said.

“Crewing is a complex, logistical task that considers the individual’s qualifications and the number of skilled mariners required for the various roles onboard each vessel, as well as where they live and work,” BC Ferries said Monday in a statement. “Even a small number of crew that are unavailable to sail can have a significant impact on service if replacements are challenging to find.”

READ ALSO: Working from home, staggering shifts urged as Omicron causes business uncertainty in B.C.

To mitigate that risk, BC Ferries has crew in reserve that can be called in, and noted it is cross-training employees so they can be deployed to different locations as required.

Even so, the company warns prospective passengers to be prepared for service disruptions, particularly on inter-island routes. It acknowledged the importance of ferry service to many B.C. communities and stated it will do its best to avoid disruptions.

“While a route may operate on a modified schedule, no route is expected to be suspended completely.”

Up-to-date sailing information can be found at bcferries.com/current-conditions.


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