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

Staff Sgt. Darrell Underwood and Ian Gibbs, coordinator of volunteers for the Saanich Police Department, stand in front of the new Saanich Community Safety Office at Uptown Shopping Centre. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich police call on volunteers for new community safety team

Community Safety Office to open spring 2021 at Uptown Shopping Centre

Laura Campbell was one of eight people to receive the Community Living BC Widening Our World award in 2020. (Courtesy of Laura Campbell)
Victoria woman earns provincial award for work with differently abled adults

Widening our World awards recognize community, inclusivity building

Aerial view of the Capital Regional District’s wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point. (Photo courtesy CRD)
PHOTOS: Check out Greater Victoria’s new wasterwater treatment facilities

Long-awaited project has been up and running since late 2020

Learning tools from the Garth Homer Society’s LifeStreams program have gone online. (Facebook/Garth Homer Society)
Online platform launched for Greater Victoria adults with developmental disabilities

Platform includes programs, events, activities and COVID-19 resources

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich police, GVERT arrest suspect in West Shore investigation

Man arrested near Rutledge Park early Saturday morning

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read