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BC Ferries cancels sailings as major vessel out of service between Victoria, Vancouver

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The Coastal Celebration is hardly living up to its name.

The BC Ferries vessel is out of action for repairs to its propulsion system, meaning the Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route is down one vessel, with eight cancelled sailings each day, until it's fixed.

The lost sailings mean very long lineups and multiple-sailing waits for those drivers without reservations.

By 10 a.m. Thursday, if a driver didn't have a reservation, the earliest ferry they could get on from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen was the 4 p.m. sailing.

By 11 a.m., the line of vehicles trying to get to the Lower Mainland snaked down Highway 17, well outside of the ferry terminal.

Seven-thousand travellers had made reservations on the Coastal Celebration over the coming week.

Those reservations are being moved to different times. Until those thousands of reservations get sorted, the BC Ferries online system won't allow new reservations.

The current chaos is just the latest for BC Ferries, which is currently enduring major staff shortages and routine cancellations due to mechanical issues. Those are issues that Premier David Eby says new BC Ferries CEO Nicolas Jimenez is tasked with fixing.

"This is a huge source of frustration for people who depend on the ferries for their livelihood, to see loved ones," Eby said. "It's a priority for our government to address these issues, that’s why we've made significant changes to the leadership."

The Coastal Celebration is expected to be back in action at the end of next week. Until then, BC Ferries has added two late-night sailings and warns travellers should brace for long waits.

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