The only capable and available ferry to carry vehicles and people between PEI and Nova Scotia will not be back in operation until at least Monday, July 10, operator Northumberland Ferries Ltd. said in a statement Thursday.
“MV Confederation’s mechanical issue is expected to be resolved over the weekend. The required parts are due to arrive on Saturday, and an expedited repair, followed by extensive testing, will see the vessel back in service early next week,” the statement quoted. Vice President Mark Wilson as saying.
“The service remains suspended until Saturday and Sunday.”
The news of the continued lack of ferry service comes as thousands of country music fans are expected to come to the island for the Cavendish Beach Music Festival this weekend.
“We are deeply sorry for this continued inconvenience during this peak tourist season in Atlantic Canada,” Wilson’s statement said. “We are doing everything we can to safely resume service as soon as possible.”
The failure of a mechanical flexible coupling in the vessel’s propulsion train caused the shuttle’s initial breakdown on the weekend of June 17.
A replacement for the broken part had to be made in Germany and shipped to Canada to repair the ship, as it was not stored anywhere in the world.
Shortly after the ferry was returned to service on July 1, another breakdown was announced, also requiring off-island parts to be ordered.
Not only tourists, but also island residents, truckers, and other business travelers have been left with only two options: take the Confederation Bridge that connects Borden-Carleton, PEI, with New Brunswick, or fly.
Hard blow to companies
Businesses in southeast PEI have seen their customer flow drastically reduced because no traffic reaches the island through the Wood Islands.
A Shop Belfast campaign is underway to try to convince islanders to patronize local businesses, and the Eastern PEI Chamber of Commerce has announced a meeting for Tuesday 18 July to discuss ways to stabilize the ferry service. .
“Recent unscheduled operational shutdowns of ferry service for extended periods have wreaked havoc on the routine business operations of our major Eastern PEI industrial sectors and the traveling public,” the chamber said in a news release.
The federal government owns ships
The ferry malfunction shed light on the precariousness of having only one working ship dedicated to the service, after MV Holiday Island was sent to a scrapyard following a fire on board in July 2022.
Operator Northumberland Ferries was able to locate and lease a suitable car ferry from the Quebec ferry agency later in 2022, but company officials knew they could remove it at any time if necessary to replace a ship on a river route. St Lawrence.
That replacement ship, MV Saaremaa I, is due to return to the PEI-Nova Scotia route in mid-July after a dry-dock season, Wilson confirmed Thursday.
“The NFL crew departed yesterday to join the ship in Quebec for transit. MV Saaremaa 1 is expected to arrive late on Sunday, July 9, and the remaining crew will be trained and final preparations will be completed as quickly as possible. to be able to travel safely. enter service”.
The federal government is the legal owner of the ships operated by Northumberland Ferries.
He has budgeted for a replacement ferry for MV Holiday Island, but that ship is still in the design stage and won’t be ready until 2028 at the earliest.