New Brunswick

Grand Manan ferry Adventure's problems being studied

The provincial government has a new plan to get to the bottom of the Grand Manan Adventure's chronic problems.

Beleaguered ferry spends most of fourth anniversary stuck in port

The $68 million ferry has been plagued with mechanical problems since it first set sail Aug. 11, 2011. (CBC)

The provincial government has a new plan to get to the bottom of the Grand Manan Adventure's chronic problems.

The ferry marked most of the fourth anniversary of its maiden voyage stuck in port. A number of runs from Saturday to Tuesday were cancelled.

It was back up and running by the 5:30 p.m. crossing on Tuesday and is now back on schedule.

But the $68 million ferry has been plagued with mechanical problems since it first set sail Aug. 11, 2011.

Four days later, two bow thrusters failed. Another breakdown in 2012 was followed by a broken turbocharger in July 2013, and an overheated engine in March 2014.

Engine problems forced the ferry off its run once again this past March.

Tammy Worthen lives on Grand Manan and says the Adventure is now going by a new name.

"She's affectionately known as the 'Misadventure,'" she said.

Her husband said the ferry disruptions have affected his plans at least half a dozen times.

'Pretty poor service'

"It's pretty poor service if you ask me," said Karl Worthen. "Especially for people who have to wait six months to a year for appointments in Saint John or elsewhere."

Tammy Worthen said she knows several people who have missed medical appointments — even one for cancer treatment — that were made months in advance.

What do you do?" she asked. "That's our highway. People are stuck. There's no recourse for islanders. We ship a lot of live product — lobsters, scallops. It's people's livelihood."

"If we could zero in on just what needs to be done and fix it, maybe we'd have a decent boat," said former MLA Eric Allaby, who lives on Grand Manan.

"I know everybody is trying to do their very best to keep the thing going but there's something dreadfully wrong with some of the mechanics of this ferry."

New Brunswick's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is hoping a new study will get to the root of the problems.

Team meets again Wednesday

In a statement, communications officer Sarah Bustard said the department has "engaged a team from the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to conduct an independent third party review of the vessel's engines and related components. The department is confident they will provide recommendations that will lead to improved performance of the ferry and service to the island."

Dennis Greene is highway supervisor for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and is also the mayor of Grand Manan.

He said the three person Newfoundland team first met with Grand Manan Village Council on June 19 in Saint George and will meet again Wednesday.

Greene hopes they tackle some repeated issues he has noticed.

"Most of our problems have been happening on the port side of the ferry, with the port engine and port turbocharger," he said.

"These people have these engines in some of their ferries in Newfoundland and they don't have any problems with them. So why are we having problems? They're going to look and see if those were the proper engines to put in this ferry and are they being run properly, is the maintenance being done properly."
    
The Florida built Adventure is owned by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and operated by Coastal Transport.

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