Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Recent close encounters in Active Pass

Remember back in 2007 when the Morfitt Report criticized BC Ferries for having two large ships pass each other in the middle of Active Pass?

Go here for the media-trimmed version of things.
"A collision in Active Pass could have catastrophic results -- on the travelling public, on the company, and on the economy of Vancouver Island,'' Morfitt wrote.
"BC Ferries should, as part of a formalized risk management process, undertake an assessment of the degree of risk associated with the current practice of allowing BC Ferries' vessels to transit Active Pass simultaneously.''
Contributing to the risk "is the situation where two vessels are making the transit at a combined closing speed of 30 to 35 knots, with two 90-plus degree turns, and little room to manoeuvre if either ship has a major problem,'' Morfitt wrote.
Potential loss of steering control or propulsion, electrical blackout or human error all pose risks of these ships colliding with each other or smaller craft.
That was all in reference to two large ships, Spirit class vessels, with twin engines, twin rudders and bow thrusters. Things have changed.

BC Ferries now has two double-enders passing each other in Active Pass. The Super-C class is not as maneuverable as the Spirit class and has encountered some serious problems with the "forward" propeller control.

But that's not what this is about. Morfitt said, back in 2007, that BC Ferries use of Active Pass created a significant risk. BC Ferries responded with a risk assessment that essentially said they were handling things quite nicely  - thank you.

However, not all is well in Active Pass. In January 2013, BC Ferries had at least two dangerous close-quarters incidents in Active Pass and you, traveller, have heard nothing about them.


Chris said...

Details to come, right?

RossK said...

And further...

Details about those 'forward' problems being fixed (or not) are to come also?

Anonymous said...

I believe the forward propeller problems are more or less resolved.

As for the details of Active Pass, well, perhaps some hungry reporter can submit an FOI request.

Chris said...

I'd be shocked if such an inquiry isn't already under way.

Anonymous said...

@ Chris, if you mean the media inquiry, I doubt "they" have anything close to a hint.

There has been an internal investigation/

RossK said...

Thanks ts.