Stranded BC Ferries vessel brought ashore, all 85 passengers safe

The Salish Raven pulled into Ogden Point Wednesday after finishing a 41-day journey from Gdansk, Poland, where it was built. June 7, 2017. (CTV Vancouver Island)

VICTORIA – More than 85 people were stranded at sea for hours Thursday aboard a BC Ferries vessel off Vancouver Island.

The Salish Raven was sailing from the Southern Gulf Islands to Victoria's Swartz Bay when one of its thrusters malfunctioned just before 10 a.m., leaving 85 passengers and an unknown number of crew stranded.

Crowds of would-be passengers were waiting to take the boat from the Victoria side before dispersing when it became clear the vessel was in trouble offshore.

A tug boat was dispatched to the scene and was able to bring the drifting ferry ashore at around 1:30 p.m., nearly four hours after the boat was supposed to arrive on the normally 40-minute sailing.

Passengers disembarking from the stranded ferry were upset about the ordeal, though many said that BC Ferries staff handled the situation well, offering free food and beverages to passengers.

Most of the passengers were Gulf Islands residents and said they were coming to Vancouver Island for appointments that would now have to be rescheduled.

BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall said the drifting ferry did not hinder the departures or arrivals of other ferries in the Swartz Bay area.

The Salish Raven entered service in August 2017 and is one of the ferry service's newest vessels. 

Maintenance crews were examining the troubled ferry Thursday afternoon.

BC Ferries replaced the Salish Raven with another vessel and says more information about future sailings will be released once it's available.

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