That's not the case, and I don't think that's what North Islander was saying.
A lot of crewing, safety, and equipment regulations are mandated by law. Canada's maritime safety standards are not lax in comparison with the rest of the world. As well, BC Ferries receives regular inspections by their insurer, and by Transport Canada. There's room for improvement, but no need for 'yikes'.
Post by North Islander on Feb 1, 2007 13:37:51 GMT -8
Well, I do apologize for my confusing writing. Words aren't quite my thing. And it was what I was saying, but you are both right.
The federal ministry of transportation does in fact set a number of minimum standards for domestic ferries, and for lifesaving equipment and drills and so on. Workers Compensation sets other standards. Whether Ottawa's standards are still as strict as the rest of the world's is up for debate, and I don't know a lot about that. I know they don't require domestic ferries to be SOLAS or ISN compliant for some reason, and that seems odd to me, given the volume of passengers, the length and nature of the routes and weather and water and so on.
But on the other hand, I did mean that TSB recommendations are just recommendations, and compliance with the international ISM code is voluntary, and keeping up a functioning safety-management system is voluntary, and complying with Morfitt's recommendations is voluntary. Good for BC Ferries for hiring him on to offer an opinion, and good for Mr. Hahn for saying, in advance, that the company would comply with whatever he said. But ask yourself: who can ensure that gets done? As far as I can see, the answer, short of the board of directors, is no one. We just hope, again, for the best.
But my guess is that the crew and company are both to be applauded for what will undoubtedly a tough job in setting aside differences and effecting real change. Good for them all.
Thanks for posting North Islander. I appreciate the education.
One thing I do know. I have faith in the crews of the Queen of Surrey and if the crews on the other vessels are anything like ours there is very little to worry about. Maybe its because the Sunshine Coast is still a small community, where we all depend on the ferry and we've gotten to know each other over the years.
They know their jobs, they know the ship and each watch conducts safety and lifeboat drills regularly. I think they all take their positions very seriously. Whatever goes on at Fort Street, our ferries are run by people who care about what they are doing and understand they are taking lives in their hands.
Post by Low Light Mike on Mar 24, 2007 22:03:59 GMT -8
Here is a quote from a National-Post story from March 20, 2007:
"Union vice-president Richard Goode says former auditor general George Morfitt’s review of safety practices at B.C. Ferries “empowered” both sides to set aside their differences and work together on safety issues"
Ferry-safety plan set for launch Management, union join in effort to repair 'dysfunctional' relationship, months after scathing audit JUSTINE HUNTER
From Monday's Globe and Mail September 24, 2007 at 5:46 AM EDT
VICTORIA — B.C. Ferries and the union representing its 5,000 workers will start to roll out details of a joint safety regime to employees this week, eight months after an audit blasted their "dysfunctional" relationship as a barrier to safety.
The Sail Safe program will update a decade-old safety-management system that has been crumbling for years, Jackie Miller, president of the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers' Union, said in an interview.
"It's not to reinvent the wheel, but to reimplement a system that went through various stages of management and deterioration in the course of 10 years," Ms. Miller said.
"Overall I think it will inspire the work force again that they can be confident that they are safe, that they are doing things safely and they are going to get their cargo and passengers there safely."
Last January, a report by former B.C. auditor-general George Morfitt concluded that the provincial ferry operator is largely safe despite a poisonous working relationship between management and workers.
The report was commissioned after the sinking of the Queen of the North in March, 2006.
"During the course of our work, we observed considerable tension in the relationship between the union and the company that is, in our view, dysfunctional," the Morfitt report said.
"It presents a considerable impediment to resolving operational safety issues and continuously improving the safety-management system."
In response, the company's chief operating officer, Mike Corrigan, approached the union and offered to work on a joint safety-management program.
"We got together and said, 'We can't keep going on like this, we have got to turn the page,' " he said in an interview.
"The company and the union want to create the safest work environment we can for our passengers and our employees."
Neither side would reveal details until workers are briefed on the plan; it will likely be months before ferry users are told of any changes. "When you are talking about building trust, in changing the culture, it's going to take some time," Mr. Corrigan said.
However, he did confirm that experts in international safety-management standards were brought in from Europe to offer advice. Those officials toured the northern routes where the union still has safety concerns.
The Queen of the North had been flagged as a risk because of its hull design. Two ships that continue to service the northern routes, the Queen of Chilliwack and the Queen of Prince Rupert, also have single-compartment hulls.
Mr. Corrigan said those two vessels are scheduled to be retired in four years, but he maintained they are safe in the meantime because they have been approved by Transport Canada and certified by an independent auditor.
Ms. Miller said the new system will look at everything from training and recruitment to the safety of the vessels themselves. ===================
Nice to see something coming from that report, and it really will be an accomplishment if management and labour can get together to make BC Ferries a better work environment for staff, and safer for everyone concerned.