aa

LETTER: Safety the reason behind ban on lower passenger decks

While I understand (but do not agree with) your complaint with respect to having to leave the enclosed vehicle decks of BC Ferries I take issue with the misconceptions and falsehoods you used to support your position.

The 2017 decision by Transport Canada to vacate enclosed vehicle decks on all Canadian ferries had nothing to do with the sinking of the Queen of the North. BC Ferries northern operations had prohibited occupancy of vehicle decks while underway for decades before the 2006 tragedy. In fact, the closure of enclosed vehicle decks extended to all affected ships as a result of Transport Canada agreeing to enforce a long-standing international maritime safety requirement to which Canada is a willing signatory.

The reasons for limiting access to enclosed vehicle decks address a multitude of risks, not the least of which is a continuous safe air supply, flooding risks and vehicles which have rolled out of control. The International Maritime Organization determined years ago that enclosed vehicle decks constituted an industrial and human safety risk after revisiting a litany of maritime disasters in roll-on-roll-off ships.

People have died on the vehicle decks of BC Ferries, despite your claim otherwise. The collision in Active Pass between Queen of Victoria and the Sergey Yesinin in August 1970 took the lives of three people, two of whom were on the vehicle deck, including a seven-month-old infant. Other injured passengers were trapped on the vehicle deck because crew could not get to them.

Your assertion that the risk on the lower vehicle decks is infinitesimal demonstrates ignorance of the actual conditions and complete disregard for vessel and passenger safety management. BC Ferries large vessels operate in one of the busiest maritime traffic environments in the world. Added to the risk is the fact that they typically cross in and outbound traffic lanes such that risk of collision is considerably increased. It is to the credit of BC Ferries seafarers that they mitigate that risk with exceptional skill and awareness.

You might have made it clear that the vacating of vehicle decks does not apply to the upper vehicle deck where the majority of passenger vehicles are positioned. You might also ask yourself why you are on a ferry at all in the middle of a devastating pandemic where your movement from one region to another is putting others at risk.

Capt. David S. Tyre, international marine safety instructor

Saanichton

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The realignment of Highway 14 between Connie and Glinz Lake roads in Sooke will take more than a year to complete. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
The realignment of Highway 14 between Connie and Glinz Lake roads in Sooke will take more than a year to complete. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
Patience requested from drivers as work begins on realignment of Highway 14 in Sooke

Construction between Connie and Glinz Lake roads expected to take 1½ years

A spokesperson for the Peninsula Country Market is upset that their third and final Winter Market won’t happen this Saturday in Central Saanich’s Centennial Park following moves by the municipality. (Facebook/Peninsula Country Market)
Central Saanich postpones weekend Winter Market, organizers upset

Lorea Tomsin said municipality’s move runs counter to provincial direction

As cyclists and pedestrians pass by at Humboldt and Government streets, a garden of blooming black-eyed Susans brightens up the northwest corner of the Fairmont Empress Hotel property on a partially sunny November afternoon. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Keep your umbrella handy for the next while around Greater Victoria

November has lived up to its reputation as one of the rainiest months of the year

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming moves to the role of transportation minister in the NDP’s new cabinet. (B.C. government file photo)
Greater Victoria MLAs claim key roles in new cabinet

Transportation, Indigenous relations, children and family development ministries headed by locals

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from daycare in Nanaimo

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Light Up parade a no-go, but Ladysmith’s streets are still all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Gracie couldn’t stop nursing from her previous owner’s goats which was problematic given the goats were trying to be dried out to breed. Gracie now lives at A Home for Hooves. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Cowichan animal sanctuary gets international accreditation

A Home for Hooves farm sanctuary accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Most Read