OFFICE OF THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT
Cabinet du ministre des Transports
December 29, l998
Mr. Elbert K. Paul
Ferry C.U.R.E. Society
P.O. Box Z-9
1645 Whitesails Drive
Bowen Island, British Columbia
Dear Mr. Paul:
Thank you for your letter of November 17, l998, addressed to the Minister of Transport, the Honourable David M. Collenette, in which you express your concerns regarding the British Columbia Ferry Corporationís (BCFC) fast ferry service and request that Transport Canada withhold certificates pertaining to the vesselís operation. The Minister has asked me to respond on his behalf.
I should first note that safety is Transport Canadaís highest priority. Consequently, the department has been involved in approvals of plans for the fast ferry PACIFICAT, as well as safety equipment and training, inspection during construction, and other regulatory requirements linked to the ship.
You will be interested to know that the fast ferry is built to safety standards that exceed those of ships of a more conventional nature. The crew training requirements are such that the officers must be type-rated. It is equipped with the latest navigational equipment and is able to stop within two ship-lengths in an emergency.
The vessel is currently performing various sea trials before going into full operation. When ships perform trials such as these, they operate at the extreme limits of their capacity in order to ensure the performance of all systems. The fast ferry is designed to have a minimal wake; however, in its trial program, the BCFC will be ascertaining the effects of wave wash. Please be assured that once these trials are completed to the satisfaction of Transport Canada, the department will review the effects of wake wash on small craft and will cooperate with the corporation to encourage responsible and safe operation with respect to other marine traffic along the ferry routes. At that time, provided the owner has also fulfilled the departmentís regulatory and crew proficiency requirements, certificates will be issued to permit the ferryís operation.
I should also note that in general, with regard to the wake of vessels, it is the operatorís responsibility to navigate the vessel safely and show due diligence concerning any damage that may be caused through its wake. Such cases where damage occurs are usually settled between those concerned.
Thank you again for writing.
Special Assistant - British Columbia
c.c. Office of the Honourable David Anderson, P.C.,M.P.
Office of Mr. John Reynolds, M.P.
Office of the Honourable Dan Miller, M.L.A.
Office of the honourable Cathy McGregor, M.L.A.
Office of Mr. Ted Nebelling, M.L.A.
Office of Mr. Doug Symons, M.L.A.
Office of Mr. Gordon Campbell, M.L.A.