The Spirit of British Columbia, a newer vessel that runs between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, was taken out of service at 3 p.m. PT because of a broken propeller.
The ship's captain ordered an inspection after rumbling led him to suspect the vessel hit some logs. Divers went down and confirmed that the propellor needed a fix.
Spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said that maintenance crews will work through the night to repair the ship's propellor.
She also said the smaller, older Queen of New Westminster would be brought in later in the evening to handle some of the traffic.
But not everyone heard the news about the cancelled sailings.
Some vehicle passengers in Tsawwassen said they weren't told about the cancellations when they paid for their fares at the terminal gates. They said BC Ferries staff just let them into the terminal, to wait.
Marshall said that BC Ferries is sorry about the communication issues.
She said the Spirit of British Columbia should be back in service Wednesday morning.
A second vessel, the Coastal Celebration, also faced mechanical problems Tuesday, but has since been fixed.