Hey, sailors ... Boating hotline leads to phone sex
Last Updated Thu, 14 Apr 2005 09:46:25 EDT
SAINT JOHN, N.B. - A federal government toll-free phone line to encourage safe boating is directing callers in New Brunswick to a phone-sex offer instead.
Officials at Transport Canada are scrambling to shut down the connection after receiving a number of calls from upset boaters in the past few days.
When they call the number for Transport Canada's Office of Boating Safety listed in the Saint John phone book, boaters get an explicit 45-second greeting inviting them to use their credit cards to try phone sex.
"We understand it's due to some type of unfortunate error, but exactly what it is, I can't say," said Transport Canada spokesperson Steve Bone.
A year ago, Transport Canada took over the Office of Boating Safety from the coast guard. Bone speculates that the error may have originated then.
Isabelle Robinson from Aliant, Atlantic Canada's phone company, said toll-free numbers are recycled when their operators no longer need them.
"They get placed in a database and that number is available for reuse, typically in about four months," she said.
The number was recently assigned to a U.S. service provider, Robinson said.
Bone said Transport Canada is working with Aliant to see if they can block the number when callers from Canada dial it.