In June, BC Ferries opened its first operations and security center at the company’s headquarters in Victoria, British Columbia. The facility was created to provide a centralized hub that is the “eyes and ears” for the ferries, terminals and shoreside staff.
Staffed round the clock by at least two people, the ops center monitors the location of all ferries on computer screens by limiting AIS inputs to the BC Ferries fleet. They can even tell if a boat gets off course.
The ops center also monitors video camera feeds from most of the terminals.
If there’s a problem that affects the service, the ops center takes care of all communications that used to be handled by on-board staff or shoreside personnel that had other jobs.
For example, if one of the ferries has a mechanical breakdown, the ops center will issue a bulletin that informs passengers of any delays. This can be done with electronic reader boards on the highways near the terminals, media alerts and even telephone “voice shots” to everyone who has a paid reservation on the affected boat.
“The idea is to expedite the communications within the company and to the public about any incident that might affect service,” said Gregg Clackson, director of the ops center. “This way, the people on the boat can deal with the situation without getting phone calls from all over wanting to know what’s going on.”
Since opening in June, the center has logged over 1,800 reportable incidents, which include everything from medical emergencies to mechanical problems.