Stranded Apollo passengers may finally get to sail today

There could be relief late Wednesday afternoon for passengers waiting to take a ferry between northern Newfoundland and southern Quebec, as the icebreaker Terry Fox arrives in St. Barbe.

Terry Fox icebreaker headed into St. Barbe at 3 p.m.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans tweeted this photo of coast guard icebreaker Terry Fox sailing through the ice, headed for St. Barbe to help get the Apollo ferry back on its service run between Newfoundland and Quebec. (DFO Twitter)

There could be relief on late Wednesday afternoon for passengers waiting to take a ferry between northern Newfoundland and southern Quebec, as the icebreaker Terry Fox arrives in St. Barbe.

The MV Apollo has been stuck in St. Barbe, on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula, for nine days due to thick sea ice which has filled the Strait of Belle Isle.

Shortly before 3 p.m., Department of Fisheries and Oceans tweeted that the coast guard icebreaker Terry Fox was headed into St. Barbe to help get the Apollo back into service.
The MV Apollo is waiting for icebreakers to clear a route so it can resume ferry operations between Newfoundland and southeastern Quebec. (CBC)

A lighter icebreaker, the Ann Harvey, is expected to guide the MV Apollo out to the heavier icebreaker, the Terry Fox.

Coast guard says persistent westerly winds have been pushing heavy ice along the island's west coast.

Supplies running low

The news will be welcome for passengers who have been stuck in St. Barbe for over a week.

As well, a number of transport trucks are also stranded, which means food and supplies are not making it to stores in southern Labrador and Blanc Sablon.

The MV Apollo has been waiting for icebreakers to clear the route between St. Barbe in Newfoundland and Blanc Sablon in southeast Quebec. (Google Maps)

Blandine Jones, who operates a supermarket in the Quebec community, is starting to worry about the food situation in the town.

"Fruit, vegetables — we don't have any in stock," she said.

"We don't have any eggs, our meat is getting short, milk is getting short. Even our customers, they're coming here — there's no fruit and vegetables, so they're getting very frustrated."

The issue of the stranded ferry came up in federal question period on Tuesday, when New Democrat Ryan Cleary raised it in the House of Commons.

"Passengers are forced to sleep in cars, some have run out of medications," he told the house.

"Perishable foods are spoiling in trucks while everyone waits for help. It's inexcusable that a vital link should be out of commission for so long with no end in sight."

Fisheries minister Gail Shea told the House of Commons extreme ice conditions are causing delays in many parts of Canada's east coast. 

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