A file photo of Departure Bay ferry terminal from April, 2012.
Credits: FILE PHOTO
Police immediately evacuated the ferry and two explosive sniffing dogs boarded the vessel and searched for explosives.
The Nanaimo Marine unit patrolled the area to ensure no boaters entered the area while the search was being conducted, the Departure Bay aerodrome was closed during the search, and the RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit was contacted and remained on standby.
Police say transit buses took about 500 ferry passengers to an auditorium where they were tended to be by volunteers as well as fire, ambulance and RCMP personnel.
At approximately 6:35 p.m. (PST) the Queen of Coquitlam was cleared and the passengers were transported back to the ferry terminal.
"As can be appreciated, this was very chaotic for the passengers aboard the Queen of Coquitlam and the Nanaimo RCMP would like to thank the passengers for their cooperation and assistance throughout the afternoon," Sgt. Sheryl Armstrong, a spokeswoman with the Nanaimo RCMP., said in a statement.
The investigation has now been turned over to the Nanaimo RCMP Serious Crime Unit.