BC Ferries has announced that it will be suspending the Northern Sea Wolf’s summer service to Bella Coola in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Across the ferry network, capacity will be reduced by approximately half over this time last year. Most service reductions will go into effect on Saturday, April 4 for a period of 60 days. During this time, BC Ferries will monitor service levels in conjunction with the Province to ensure essential service levels are maintained and to determine when services should resume to normal levels.
“These changes are designed to ensure we have sufficient capacity to allow the flow of essential goods, services, supplies and workers to their destinations,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We will continue to transport the goods communities rely on, and we will get people to where they need to go.”
For northern and mid-coast communities, service will continue to operate at the current off-peak (winter) service levels. The summer direct service from Bella Coola to Port Hardy will not be introduced at this time.
“Through this challenging time, our employees have demonstrated courage and determination to support coastal ferry service,” said Collins.“Unfortunately, these service level reductions will result in temporary layoffs for hundreds of dedicated and loyal employees. Our goal is to keep the temporary layoffs to as short as possible. We need all these skilled people back as soon as possible to help restore ferry services when traffic returns.”
BC Ferries is also recommending all passenger travel be restricted to essential travel only. Passengers are not to be travelling for pleasure.
“We are advising customers not to travel unless it is essential, most businesses are closed and that local governments are asking people not to come,” said Deborah Marshall, Executive Director, BC Ferries Public Affairs.