BC Ferries

Can BC Ferry Services be trusted? UPDATED

Coastal communities have reasons to distrust the provincial ferry service and its political masters. One issue is discrimination, because people on saltwater pay onerous fares while inland ferry users enjoy free sailing, services that have cost the province over $200 million during Christy Clark’s time as Premier.

The province reports $491 million in tax expenditures in fiscal year 2015-16 for film and television tax credits, which is three times what it contributes to BC Ferries. Despite the importance of BC Ferries to the culture and economy of BC, the BC Liberals refuse to allocate federal infrastructure grants to this purpose. They prefer to spend billions for the benefit of the natural gas companies that are laying off workers in northeast BC.

Another issue is BC Ferries’ purchasing policy, which has contributed to the destruction of competitive ship and boat building on Vancouver Island and the lower mainland. About $1 billion has been contracted by BC Ferries outside of British Columbia.

The intermediate-class ferry new-construction, S-Class refits and the planned LNG fuel facilities are proceeding without full disclosure and public discussion of details. To avoid risk to passengers, BC Ferries has long had a policy of restricting dangerous cargoes to special sailings. Now, they plan to sail with LNG tanker trucks fueling vessels while parked beside customers’ vehicles.

For example:

Submission by BC Ferries to Ferry Commissioners

At this time, it appears most likely that the ICFs will be fuelled from LNG tanker trucks parked on the vessel car deck.

From BC Ferries website:

To replace these vessels, BC Ferries will be introducing its Salish Class of vessels, otherwise known as Intermediate Class Ferries (or ICFs). The Salish Orca and the Salish Eagle will be introduced into service on the Southern Gulf Islands routes starting in 2017. These two new vessels, as well as a third ICF (the Salish Raven) that will serve to augment peak and shoulder season service in the Southern Gulf Islands, are being built at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland.


Would you be comfortable travelling with your family on a ferry where your car is parked alongside an LNG fuel truck? Should we trust a ferry operation that has a record of overpriced under-competent management, supervised by almost two dozen patronage appointees of Christy Clark’s government?



The audio file below is a recording of my time on CFAX1070 with Ian Jessop March 28, 2016. We talk of BC Ferries, Site C and Laila Yuile.

5 replies »

  1. CBC September 20, 2012:
    “LNG is non-toxic, odourless, non-corrosive and less dense than water. It is a stable, low risk fuel. If it spills, LNG will warm, rise and dissipate,” said Rich Coleman, B.C.'s energy minister, in an interview.

    Well that's comforting.


  2. Apparently, the Williams Co.s told the communities not to worry. A single accident was a remote possibility; four in the same year an impossibility.

    I wonder if the citizens of China and of Spain would agree there is no risk of tanker explosions, since they've experience disasters resulting from those events.


  3. This seems pretty bush-league, to not simply fill some on-board tanks and let the ferry sail off with extra capacity for paid vehicles, rather than a tanker trunk blocking traffic. Is tank capacity a problem?


  4. How often is the tanker truck leaving Nanaimo LNG facility heading up island to fuel the new ship.
    How big is the truck, any added precautions required for the responding fire dept along the route?


  5. What I have read about the Nanaimo site tells me that it is for Fortis's internal use only. It is provide peak use capacity to the Island. When there is low use, the tank will be refilled from the excess capacity.

    Most likely the LNG will come from the plant on the Fraser River.

    Is there a safety problem with having an LNG tank truck on a regular ferry run? YES.


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