Union, BC Ferries at odds over engine room safety on Salish vessels

Salish Orca 2 Jpg

(VICTORIA, British Columbia) — BC Ferries' new Salish-class vessels compromise safety by separating engine controls from the engines by five decks, according to a union for company workers, the Times Colonist reported.

Eduardo Munoz of the BC Ferries and Marine Workers’ Union said until the Salish vessels arrived, ship’s engineers always had a control room inside or overlooking the engine room. But the new vessels have the control room five decks above the space.

“The problem with this is you can’t see firsthand what’s going on in the engine room,” Munoz said.

Munoz also said the new vessels — Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven — operate with one fewer engineer on board, three instead of four, making it even more likely no one will be available to attend to engine problems.

Frank Camaraire, BC Ferries executive director of engineering, said the company and its vessels are in full compliance with Transport Canada regulations, and when it comes to staff levels, BC Ferries exceeds minimum federal requirements by one engineer.

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By Professional Mariner Staff