BC Ferries is warning customers that a combination of issues, including the Omicron variant of COVID-19, could result in unplanned service disruptions on its routes in the coming months.
“There is no single factor driving service interruptions,” reads a media release from the ferry company. “It is a combination, including the Omicron variant’s potential to impact employee wellness, regular cold and flu season, severe winter storms, vaccination policies that have reduced crew availability and the global shortage of professional mariners making it difficult to hire replacement staff.”
Regulations require each vessel be staffed with the appropriate crew, or they are not allowed to sail, according to BC Ferries. The company relies on staffing pools with crew held in reserve, cross-training employees so they can be redeployed from one location to another if required.
BC Ferries said it understands the importance of providing reliable ferry service and will do its best to avoid and minimize disruption to service. It added a route may operate on a modified schedule, but does not expect to completely suspend any routes.