A $15 part caused thousands of dollars of damage to a boat shed at Harbour Quay last night after the MV Frances Barkley passenger/ freighter vessel crashed into the shed just before docking for the night.
There were no injuries in the accident, although three boats were damaged—one significantly, and two others with minor scratches.
“It was mechanical failure on a small part that caused big damage,” said Mike Surrell, owner of Lady Rose Marine Services, which operates the MV Frances Barkley.
“A $15 shift linkage pin in the wheelhouse controls failed, causing the vessel to go into full reverse. We were just docking and that’s when it failed,” Surrell said.
“I’m lucky to have such a good crew. They saved it from being a lot worse because of their quick actions.”
There were about 30 passengers aboard the Frances Barkley, which is well below a full load, said Surrell, adding all he cared about was that no one was hurt.
“There were zero casualties. The Barkley has no damage. We destroyed one of our own float houses and there’s one boat with some damage,” he said.
“It was pretty dramatic,” said Rick Hebert, who had cycled down to Harbour Quay to watch the Frances Barkley dock. His sister-in-law works on the vessel, he said.
“You could see (the captain) was struggling with it. It snapped the pilings like they were toothpicks.”
Surrell said the Frances Barkley would be down for “maybe two days” to repair the linkage. Crews will conduct a sea trial on the vessel before passengers will be allowed aboard, he added.
Surrell, who owns the boat shed, said he will probably rebuild it.
Lady Rose Marine Services took receipt of the former BC Ferries vessel MV Tenaka last month, and it is berthed at a new dock at Harbour Quay. Surrell said the company has entered its summer season and won’t begin retrofitting the ferry until work slows down now. The decommissioned car ferry will be put into service sometime next year as a second freight and passenger vessel, serving the west coast of Vancouver Island.