The FAC has received the following communication from BC Ferries in response to our concerns about last month’s service disruptions due to the cancelled sailings of the Island Gwawis on Tuesday, June 13. It can also be viewed at Also, a friendly reminder that the Gabriola FAC Facebook account is NOT monitored. If you wish to contact us please email us at

Here’s the statement from BC Ferries:

What happened

The Island Gwawis ties up each day at the Visiting Vessel Pier in Nanaimo. The conditions for docking at this pier present more challenges in adverse weather than docking at the BC Ferries’ terminal. With winds predicted to be too high to safely dock the vessel later that day, the decision was made to cancel the afternoon sailings for the Gwawis in the interest of safety.

Because the Island Kwigwis docks at the BC Ferries terminal, it continued to sail that day. However due to our inability to fully staff the vessel to Transport Canadas regulation levels, the vessel’s license was reduced. This led to lower passenger capacity on the Kwigwis and with just one ship in operation, some passengers experienced longer waits at the terminal. Crew were found and theKwigwis sailed at full capacity for the 4:35pm sailing onward.

What about other docks near by?

During the initial project for the alternate dock, all locations were looked into and considered. These included Departure Bay and the Cruise Ship dock. After all options were explored, it was concluded the Visiting Pier was the most suitable for the vessel and the needs of the route. When service disruptions do happen our teams will look all available options. In making these decisions, several factors including crew certificates and berth availability are considered.

What we are doing

The central question we have heard is, could the crew from the Gwawis have been reassigned to the Kwigwis so it could sail at full capacity between 12:55pm and 4:35pm?

The simple answer is yes. However, on this day that reassignment did not happen. We have conducted a review with our staff and have addressed this oversight so that it will not happen again. We recognize the major disruption this caused to all those travelling on this day and we apologize for the frustration customers experienced. Our teams continue to work on improving our policies and procedures for two-ship service on this route, to avoid or mitigate disruptions moving forward. We thank everyone for their patience and understanding.

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