You can bet next time I'm on a B.C. Ferry I'll be paying a lot more attention to that safety announcement with the news this morning that a ferry sailing the popular Prince Rupert/Port Hardy inside passage route sunk in the wee hours of the morning.
Reports are still sketchy but it appears all 102 passengers and crew are safe and accounted for, and the fact there doesn't appear to have been any fatalities is a minor miracle. While there are certainly no ice bergs up there, those aren't the warmest waters this time of year. Reports said the seas were choppy with winds gusting to 75 km.
Imagine being awoken at 2:00 am to be told your ferry is sinking. But it appears the ship sunk slowly, allowing everyone time to evacuate. No word yet on the cause, other than that the ship appears to have run aground. The CBC reported with the usual ship in for its annual refit a larger vessel was plying the route, which may be responsible for its running aground.
While living in Courtenay on Vancouver Island I regularly took the ferry between
We're a long ways from knowing what happened here but I really hope this accident doesn't hurt the route's popularity with tourists, as the route is a significant economic boom during the summer for Prince Rupert, and more so for the smaller community of Port Hardy, on Vancouver Island. A friend of mine owns a hotel in Port Hardy and she said she's always full in the summer the days the ferry comes and goes.
What we can say for now is good work to the B.C. ferries crew, Coast Guard and military personnel that responded to successfully rescue the passengers, and especially to the 200 people of the small village of Hartley Bay that heard the SOS of the ship and took to the waters in the middle of the night with their fishing trawlers and other boats to help rescue the passengers, and have taken them into their community centre.
Here's a bit from the CP story:
Shelby Robinson, 13, said the entire
"I stayed here to get ready for them when they came in, get blankets ready and everything," she said.
Robinson confirmed fishermen from the isolated village rushed out to help evacuate the sinking ferry.
"Most of the guys went out and got their boats running right away and they took people in by groups," she said.
It always warms the heart to hear stories like that.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers