New Brunswick

New Grand Manan ferry down

The new $68-million Grand Manan ferry is out of service, just days after being officially launched.

The new $68-million Grand Manan ferry is out of service, just days after being officially launched.

The Grand Manan Adventure is having electronic issues, said Murray Ryder, the general manager of Coastal Transport, which operates the ferry.

The vessel made one trip from Grand Manan to Blacks Harbour on Monday morning, but then the captain noticed the problems, he said.

"It was a great week last week, very disappointing today," said Ryder.

Ryder said the boat's two bow thrusters failed one after the other as the captain docked the boat Monday — even though the ship was thoroughly tested last week.

"This is what we're faced with now. We kind of wish it was a week ago, but it's not. The thing is we make sure we operate this ship in a safe manner. The captain won't run the ship until those bow-thrusters are working again."

It will remain docked while the matter is investigated, said Ryder.

The Adventure set sail on its maiden voyage Thursday morning to great fanfare. About 200 invited guests attended the event, including members of the community and those involved in the construction of the ferry.

Delivery of the 82-car ferry had been delayed when it encountered mechanical problems during sea trials in Panama City, Fla., in June. The ferry overheated because of the failure of a pipe, officials said.

It arrived in Blacks Harbour from the Eastern Shipbuilding Inc. yard in Panama City on July 26. Then the ferry underwent additional trials and provisioning and Coast Transport staff received extra training before the official launch.

The Adventure replaced the Grand Manan V as the main, year-round link from the island to the mainland.

Now, the Grand Manan V will have to pick up the slack for the Adventure during the peak of tourist season.

 One traveller said she was taking it in stride.

"I'm on holidays, it's not a business trip," said Terry Scott. "I've got a bunch of friends. We've got three cars. We're expecting another one, so we're going to party in the parking lot."

Ryder said he's not sure when the ferry will be up and running again. He said best case scenario is Tuesday, but it could be even longer if the ship's original builders have to come back from Florida to fix the problem.