A Marine Atlantic ferry will arrive four hours late in Port aux Basques after getting stuck in ice on the trip from Nova Scotia. 

MV Highlanders left North Sydney, N.S., just after midnight Monday en route to Port aux Basques, N.L., but became stuck in three to four metres of pack ice. The ferry was stuck overnight last week as well, but managed to free itself that time. 

The Highlanders' crew called for an ice breaker to help free it Monday. Marine Atlantic said 271 passengers were on board. 

Spokesman Darrell Mercer said the MV Highlanders managed to free itself Monday morning around 7 a.m. AST

Mercer says the vessel is now expected to arrive at its destination on Newfoundland's west coast at 11:30 a.m. local time, more than four hours behind schedule.

"Last night when the vessel got stuck, the ice breaker wasn't nearby, so the vessel continued to make efforts to get through and this morning did break herself free," he said.

"It's en route to Port aux Basque and should arrive later this morning."

Marine Atlantic has been struggling to clear a backlog of more than 200 tractor-trailers waiting at its terminal in North Sydney, N.S., following a week of heavy ice conditions that led to cancelled ferry crossings and delays.

The MV Blue Puttees was also trapped last week. 

with files from The Canadian Press