VIDEO: Two ferries forced to return to Nanaimo as winds cause damage at Horseshoe Bay

By NanaimoNewsNOW Staff
February 9, 2019 - 10:05am Updated: February 9, 2019 - 1:40pm

The (stationary) view from the Queen of Cowichan ferry, which hasn't moved in several hours.submitted/Adam Kreuzkamp

NANAIMO — Two BC Ferries sailings were forced to return to Nanaimo after being unable to dock in Horseshoe Bay due to dangerous wind conditions.

In a video sent to NanaimoNewsNOW by a passenger on the Queen of Oak Bay, a ferry crew member is heard announcing it was too dangerous to dock.

"Horseshoe Bay is too dangerous to dock. The breakwater has broken up. The marina has gone apart and there's boats and debris everywhere," the crew member said.

The ferry left Nanaimo roughly 60 minutes late, at 9:20 a.m., and made it most of the way to Vancouver before the decision was made to turn around.

The Queen of Cowichan also turned around and came back to Nanaimo. That sailing was holding in the waters outside of Horseshoe Bay for several hours after leaving Nanaimo at 6:15 a.m. By the time the ship docked back in Nanaimo, passengers were onboard for nearly seven hours.

Passengers speaking to NanaimoNewsNOW said despite being confined to the ferry for four times longer than anticipated, everyone remained calm.

"Everybody moved to the front to watch the waves. There was no whining or complaining," one woman said.

"When we finally realized we weren't going to make it all, we were pretty disappointed," another passenger said. He was part of a much larger group going to attend a boat show on the Mainland. "It's a shame but what can you do?"

All sailings on the route through 1 p.m. were cancelled. A ferry departed Nanaimo once again bound for Vancouver at 1:20 p.m. once damage from the marina moved away from the dock.


EARLIER (10 a.m.):

High winds and dangerous conditions have forced a ferry to halt out on the water for several hours. 

The Queen of Cowichan ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver left at 6:15 and as of 10 a.m. still hasn't docked. It's currently stopped just outside the Vancouver dock and can't proceed. 

Passengers onboard the ferry said the captain told them to hold tight because they didn't anticipate moving any time soon. 

They said everyone is nervous and anxious as the winds buffet the ferry and choppy waves batter the hull. 

A second Nanaimo to Vancouver ferry also took off for the mainland around 9:20 a.m. It's currently unknown what will happen when the ferry reaches the same windy conditions on the other side. 

This post will be updated as the situation develops.


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