B.C. ferry returns to dock after ‘belligerent’ anti-masker raises a fuss

The Spirit of Vancouver Island turned around and headed back to dock at Swartz Bay on Friday after a passenger refused to wear a mask and created a disturbance.

Several groups of people who are opposed to wearing masks during the pandemic were on board.

“The anti-maskers were all trying to make their 2 o’clock rally in Vancouver. So we had three or four different groups that wanted to showcase their political views,” said Kevin Lee, provincial vice-president of the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union, who happened to be on board.

“The situation could have escalated,” he told CHEK News. “We had to turn the ship around and come back … to get one individual off who was creating the most disturbance.”

In one confrontation recorded on video, a ferry worker asks a man to put on a mask. He refuses, and is told, “We are calling the police right now.” He replies: “This is ridiculous. This is absolute insanity.”

The incident happened on the 11 a.m. ferry, said B.C. RCMP spokesman Cpl. Chris Manseau. A passenger became “belligerent” about wearing a non-medical mask correctly, he said.

B.C. Ferries phoned the North Saanich-Sidney RCMP, who met the passenger when the ferry returned to dock. The passenger was served two COVID-19 related fines worth $230 each.

The passenger was flagged and banned from riding again on Friday.

The vessel sailed on 44 minutes behind schedule.

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