Saturday, January 14, 2012

Where There's Smoke There's Sure To Be A....

...BC Ferries Spokesthingy

Something happened on the Queen of Oak Bay Thursday night that caused it to limp (not drift, as shown above from a few years back) into Horseshoe Bay on one engine.

And the official party line from BC Ferries, as spouted by spokesperson Deborah Marshall, does not quite fit with reported eye witness accounts. Based on past performances of a decidely obfuscatory nature, this has the proprietor of the Tidal Station blog wondering what really went down:

...The latest mishap to befall the company is an engineering casualty in MV Queen of Oak Bay. Apparently there was smoke in the engine room and the master quite rightly issued a call for assistance after going to fire stations.

What isn't clear, (and it won't be until an initial investigation is completed), is what actually happened. There are initial reports that the QoOB suffered a crankcase explosion. Subsequently Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries public information person, stated that it was a smoking clutch.

There would be no reason to disbelieve Ms. Marshall's statement if it weren't for one major issue: BC Ferries has been less than sincerely honest when answering public questions. Understandably, BC Ferries would like to mitigate the effect of such mishaps by, perhaps, minimizing them to the point of insignificance. A loss of public confidence in British Columbia's Crown-owned ferry system could create a debilitating effect on ridership especially during the high tourist season.

Now we get further questions because the past obfuscations leave everyone in doubt.
Was it a smoking clutch, or was it a crankcase problem? Or would it have been best to simply say, we have not yet isolated the source of the smoke.

And then there's the smoke issue. According to
Ms. Marshall:
It's my understanding the smoke was contained to below the car deck
Yet according to a passenger:
We could see smoke and some of the employees began getting into firefighting outfits. They started pushing us all to the front of the boat and closed the fire doors to the rest of the boat.
Somebody has it wrong. The passenger description suggests that he was in the passenger area, (the presence of fire doors), and that smoke did infiltrate above the car decks...

And Chris Montgomery who owns another fine marine-o-centric blog, 'On The Waterfront' has more, based on what she's been told by inside sources she trusts:

....(E)ngineers are still telling me this (Friday) morning that it was the crankcase. And they seemed kind of ticked at the release of what they say is faulty information.

We’ll know one way or the other eventually. Investigators from the Transportation Safety Board will be on board today, I’m told, since a crankcase problem has the potential to endanger life.

Meantime, just in case the engineers are right, you can find some very useful links to information that a reader helpfully provide in the comments section of my post last night. You can find them by scrolling through the comments section at the bottom of this.

Meanwhile, Ms. Montgomery has turned up the heat, and the discussion, on the recent Duke Point crash.

And as you read, ask yourself the following....Are you hearing this kind of fact-based skepticism from the Lotuslandian proMedia that went gaga over Mr Hahn upon his recent departure from Berth #5?


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