Ferry crash in Germany extends bad luck for Eastern Quebec route

Quebec's ferry service was looking at a replacement vessel for a route in eastern Quebec. Other ferries have been drydocked, returned to other service, or crashed into docks. The potential replacement vessel just crashed into a cargo ship.

'I have a hard time believing it's this bad!' region's MNA says

The Saaremaa crashed into a docked cargo ship in Germany. (Ulrich Rohde/CN )

Quebec's ferry service seems cursed with some especially bad maritime luck, with yet another accident affecting a ferry associated with a route in the province's east.

A ferry the service had been eyeing for the route between Matane in the Gaspé region and Baie-Comeau and Godbout on Quebec's North Shore was in an accident at its home port in Cuxhaven, Germany.

The Saaremaa collided with the cargo ship Curacao Pearl, which was docked.

The Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) needs a ferry to replace the NM Felix-Adrien Gauthier, which has been dry docked since December for repairs to its propeller system.

On Jan. 8, the STQ brought in the MS C.T.M.A. Vacancier as a temporary replacement for the F.-A. Gauthier. But that ferry had to be returned to service its usual route in the Magdalen islands on Feb. 1. 

The hull of the NM Apollo was damaged when it smashed into the dock at Godbout. (Olivier Roy-Martin/Radio-Canada)

The NM Apollo was purchased in January at a cost of $2.1 million, and crashed into the dock in Godbout soon after beginning service.

A few weeks later it crashed into a dock again, this time in Matane. It was taken out of service having operated on the route for only 17 days total.

"The Quebec government acquired the NM Apollo, which sailed for 17 days," said Pascal Bérubé, MNA for Matane-Matapédia. "It cost us $3 million and it's going to be scrapped. Now they're buying another one. They've earmarked $80 million in the budget, and that ship is also damaged." 

"Come on, is there a captain on the ship? I have a hard time believing it's this bad!"

Radio-Canada learned that members of the STQ traveled to Germany to inspect the Saaremaa, which was built in Norway in 2010. The service would not comment on the Saaremaa accident since the boat does not belong to it.

In January, the STQ published a notice of intent to purchase a ferry. In that notice, the STQ stated that it wanted the ship to be delivered to Quebec City on March 31.

With files from Radio-Canada