BC Ferries vessel hit whale while sailing Tuesday night

BC Ferries says it is working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans after a vessel hit a whale during a sailing Tuesday night.

In an update regarding its long weekend operations, BC Ferries CEO Nicolas Jimenez said whale strikes are generally “really … disturbing, quite frankly.”

He did not specify which vessel, time, or route the whale strike occurred.

“We take these things really seriously because they happen so rarely, and I can’t stress that enough,” he said.

However, Jimenez says earlier in the day Tuesday, another vessel had a “near miss.”

Large numbers of whales are moving through the Salish Sea and other waterways, the CEO explains, and due to that, other vessel operators — such as cruise liners and barges — are also seeing near misses and strikes.

“This is an issue we need to be very close to and pay a lot of attention to,” Jimenez said.

“Our new protocol is to lower vessel speed going through the areas where we are most likely to encounter whales. And even with that, and even with the mitigation measures that the team, the bridge crew put into place in an attempt to avoid the strike, it’s still occurred.”

Jimenez adds BC Ferries does not have any information on the welfare of the whale that was hit. However, he says that information will come out in due course when the DFO finishes its investigation into the incident.

“I know our teams are also in the process of reaching out to local First Nations, as we did in the last instance because they have obviously a very special and close relationship [not just] to the waterways but to the marine mammals.”

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