BC Ferries Says Union’s Safety Report Inaccurate

Friday, June 28, 2002
BC Ferries responded critically to a Union report on safety issued today. BC Ferries’ President and CEO Bob Lingwood responded by saying the report is inaccurate and creates an incorrect perception. The Corporation’s high safety standards are independently audited by Lloyd’s Register and are the result of highly competent, diligent and well-trained employees. The 28-page report was compiled by a committee struck by the BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union. The report has been assessed by the Corporation as containing both inaccuracies and outdated information. In particular, the report inaccurately claims that safety issues are present with lifesaving equipment, hull integrity and navigational systems. “The travelling public can be assured that BC Ferries operations are very safe and that its safety equipment, systems and procedures are secure,” Lingwood said. “BC Ferries has an aging fleet and has a long-term fleet replacement strategy to sustain service and safety.” The report also suggests that asbestos, car-deck and engine room emissions, and new sewagetreatment equipment pose health hazards. “Many examples cited in the Union’s report are either outdated or unfounded,” said Captain Mike Carter, Executive Vice President, Operations & Customer Service. “The safety of passengers or crew travelling on BC Ferries is not compromised. Any specific safety issues or concerns that are noted by staff are to be reported immediately so that appropriate actions can be taken. “BC Ferries operates in a highly regulated environment and its vessels and procedures are both regulated and inspected on a regular basis by Transport Canada and international classification societies,” Carter said. BC Ferries is safety certified under the International Maritime Organization’s International Safety Management Code, which has rigorous safety standards. These safety standards are also audited on a regular basis by Lloyd’s Register North America Inc. BC Ferries spends in excess of $50 million a year to maintain its fleet and ensure its vessels operate safely. The Corporation’s Executive has contacted the Union to request a meeting to review the incorrect information in the report.
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