Fogo ferry headed for drydock again

Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis says the Captain Earl W. Winsor needs a significant amount of work when it goes to drydock next month.

Captain Earl W. Winsor also out of service for repairs in June

The Earl W. Winsor will head to drydock before the end of September. (CBC)

There's yet another disruption coming for ferry service to Fogo and Change Islands.

The Captain Earl W. Winsor will soon go into drydock for an extensive refit in September.

The vessel already went in for repairs at the end of June, but the province wanted to stave off a major refit until the summer tourist season had ended.

Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis said a significant amount of work is necessary.

"A minimum of 12 weeks, most likely going to be longer than that, could be 16 weeks," he said.

At a news conference on Thursday, Davis admitted the repairs are a temporary fix.

Transportation Minister Paul Davis says the Earl W. Winsor is going off the run for several months for repairs. (CBC)

A request for proposals to permanently replace the Winsor, and add a swing vessel, closed in early June. To date, there's been no announcement on that contract.

"We're getting close on that. It's a tremendous amount of work to be done, it's a very complicated piece of work. We've had a team of officials from the department that have been working on this throughout the summer."

The Winsor is the largest ferry in the province's fleet.

Whatever its temporary replacement, it will be a tighter squeeze to get aboard. There's also just one swing vessel available for the province, and that's in for repairs.

Davis said officials have been conducting a global search for a backup ferry.

"We haven't had a lot of success in finding vessels that can meet requirements of our wharves ... our docking facilities and that design ... that we could put into work here in Canada."

Davis added there is no exact date for when the Winsor will be taken out of service, or what ferry will replace it.

"We have our officials working with representatives from both Fogo Island and Change Islands. We're working together as a team to develop [what] the schedule will be, what the contingency will be while the Winsor's out."