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

Just Posted

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read