A truck driver says a malfunction on a new Marine Atlantic ferry carrying passengers between western Newfoundland and Nova Scotia knocked him off his feet early Saturday morning.

"It took me off my feet and put me into the shower. So it wasn't a gentle little lean over. It was violent, that's the only way that I can describe it," said trucker Robin Smith.

Smith, who crosses the gulf several times a week, said he walked around and saw many items that had fallen over and broken glass in the bar area of the vessel.

Marine Atlantic said the abrupt list happened on the Blue Puttees because a stabilizer on the ship retracted.

A crew member was sent to hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

In January, The MV Blue Puttees — one of two reconditioned Swedish ferries acquired in 2010 — arrived in Port aux Basques in southwestern Newfoundland, one of the terminals Marine Atlantic uses for connections to Nova Scotia.

It was named after soldiers in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment who enlist in the First World War. They wore blue leg wrappings known as blue puttees.

The new ferry carries about 1,000 passengers and has about 300 beds.

Both the Blue Puttees and a sister vessel, the MV Highlanders, are expected to carry significantly more cars and trucks than two vessels that Marine Atlantic has retired.

Marine Atlantic has had repeated problems with its aging fleet, and prematurely retired the MV Caribou ahead of schedule. It has also retired the Joseph and Clara Smallwood ferry.