Skip to content

'We can't sail': Passengers 'hostages' on cruise ship stranded in Vancouver during strike

Passengers are not happy about being stuck in Vancouver
FILE PHOTO: Passengers have spent an extra day at the Vancouver cruise ship terminal after a tugboat left a barge attached when they went on strike.

A local tugboat workers' strike has meant the vacation plans for around 2,500 travellers were put on pause.

The Celebrity Eclipse, which holds around 2,850 passengers when full, remained in port at Vancouver's cruise ship terminal a full day behind schedule. In a series of tweets the cruise ship line says a tugboat company was on strike and had left a barge tied up to the gigantic ship, explaining that the workers refuse to move it and other companies won't move it since they don't own it.

"Until it's untied and moved, we can't sail. This is an unfortunate situation, and we are as frustrated as you are. We've engaged with the authorities and we're doing everything within our power to resolve the situation as quickly as possible," Celebrity Cruises tells one passenger who tweeted at them.

The cruise was supposed to head to Alaska on Sunday, Aug. 28. Midday on Monday the cruise line was finally able to tweet out word that the ship would be able to leave "shortly." Unfortunately, though, passengers would be missing out on seeing one of the planned stops along the route.

"We will do everything in our power to make up for the lost time! While we will, unfortunately, lose our call to Icy Strait, we will maintain the remainder of our itinerary as originally planned," tweeted Celebrity Cruise in response to a passenger inquiry. "We're also issuing an onboard credit equal to the amount of 1.5 days of the base cruise fare paid. Any unused portion on the sailing will be credited back to the original form of payment. Any Icy Strait excursion booked through Celebrity Cruises will also be automatically cancelled and refunded."

The cruise line did not indicate how it would be able to move the ship out of port in Vancouver.

Passengers on board have taken to social media to express their frustration.

Job action began on 30 Seaspan tugboats Thursday, Aug. 25, after the Canadian Merchant Service Guild said contract negotiations stopped. Seaspan is one of the largest tugboat operators in the Port of Vancouver area. The contract with captains and engineers ended in 2019.

With files from Jane Seyd/North Shore News