New Grand Manan ferry delayed for repairs
Grand Manan residents waiting for the island's new $65-million ferry will have to wait longer after the Grand Manan Adventure experienced mechanical problems in Panama City, Fla., the Department of Transportation announced Wednesday.
The new 82-car ferry is being constructed in Florida and was undergoing sea trials when it experienced mechanical problems on June 26.
Transportation Minister Claude Williams said in a statement the ferry overheated because of the failure of a pipe.
"Repairs must be undertaken before we can accept the vessel from Eastern Shipbuilding Inc.," Williams said in a statement.
Florida-based Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. won the contract to build the ferry in 2009. When the ferry arrives it will be able to hold 82 cars or 10 fully loaded transport trucks.
The transportation department said the provincial government will not incur any new costs because of the repairs.
"This delay is unfortunate but necessary, as we work to ensure that the ferry we accept is in excellent working order, and we are satisfied it meets all safety requirements," Williams said in the statement.
The new ferry will be used in the Grand Manan to Blacks Harbour run. It was supposed to be in service by Thursday, when the summer ferry schedule begins.
Transportation spokeswoman Sarah Ketcheson said the two-ferry service will still go ahead as scheduled, with the Grand Manan V and the Grand Manan offering service to Blacks Harbour.
But Ketcheson could not say how long the repairs to the Grand Manan Adventure will take. The ship will also have to pass sea trials to ensure it's safe before it can be accepted by the province.
Toby McLaughlin, a seafood wholesaler who ships live seafood to and from the island, is frustrated with the delay.
"I'm not surprised. The way things have been going this year, we're not having very good luck down here," he said.
"The Grand Manan V is here so we're making do, but there's lots of traffic here. She's going with full loads just about every trip."
This is the latest problem for that route this year. In May, the Grand Manan V ran aground in Blacks Harbour and had to be sent to a dry dock in Quebec to be repaired.
The summer ferry schedule for Grand Manan officially begins on June 30, and both the Grand Manan V and the Grand Manan will resume their regular operating schedules to accommodate tourist, residential and commercial traffic.