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MP Blaney calls on federal minister to review new ferry safety

North Island-Powell River MP, Rachel Blaney, wants the federal government to take a closer look at ferry safety in her constituency.

Earlier this week Blaney delivered a letter to transportation minister Marc Garneau, asking that he review the ministry’s Minimum Safe Manning (MSM) ruling for the new MV Island Aurora and MV Island Discovery ferries.

They began service last month on routes between Texada Island and Powell River, and Port McNeill, Sointula and Alert Bay.

 The MSM standards approved by the ministry in May allow BC Ferries to reduce the crew size on these routes from six or seven members down to five.

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Blaney says people are raising concerns about routine safety, the ability to respond to emergencies, and additional health and safety protocols in response to COVID-19.

She added that with decreased crew size, they are unable to safely manage the vessels while meeting the requirements of Marine Personal Regulations (MPR). 

“The concerns shared include their inability to carry out regular routine work, cleaning, maintenance, let alone respond to an emergency,” Blaney said.

“These communities depend on this service to not only provide essential travel and supplies, but also as a source of employment,” wrote Blaney in the letter. 

She urged the Minister to listen to the concerns of those on the front line: “The workers are the experts and I support them fully.”

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