New Fogo Island-Change Islands ferry hobbled by engine trouble

The new $50-million ferry for the Fogo Island-Change Island service is returning to its shipyard in Romania in order to have a new engine installed.

MV Veteran returning to shipyard in Romania for replacement

The $50-million MV Veteran is seen here being launched in March from a Damen shipyard in Romania. (Damen Shipyards)

The new $50-million ferry for the Fogo Island-Change Island service is returning to its shipyard in Romania in order to have a new engine installed.

The 80-metre MV Veteran was launched in March, and was making the crossing from Europe to Newfoundland and Labrador when it experienced a "glitch" in one of its engines, Transportation Minister David Brazil said Monday.

The vessel pulled into Malta so officials from the German manufacturer of the engine could assess the problem.

Brazil said the shipbuilding company, Damen, decided to recall the Veteran in order to replace the engine.

​"There was an agreement that it could be repaired [in Malta], and then further repairs done in St. John's, but the agreement was we want a state-of-the-art ferry, that's what we paid for, that's what Damen has produced, so she's going to go back to Romania and have a brand new engine put in," Brazil.

Brazil praised the company for its response, saying it was a reflection of Damen's reputation as a world leader in the shipbuilding industry.

He said it will delay the ship's arrival in Newfoundland and Labrador by about two to three weeks, but said he expects the original schedule of having the Veteran on the service by late October is still possible.

He said the engine replacement will be done at no cost to taxpayers, since the vessel has not yet been turned over the province. He said the vessel also comes with a one-year warranty.

​Brazil said engine's on the Veteran's sister ship, the MV Legionnaire, will also be tested.

The Legionnaire will serve the Bell Island run, beginning in March 2016.

"They're being tested to the Nth degree," said Brazil.

There are plans for the Veteran to sail past Fogo Island and Change Islands during its voyage to St. John's, where it will be readied for service.

It will also sail close to Bell Island in order to give residents there a look at what they can expect next year.

With files from Chris Ensing

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