Ferry Apollo stuck in ice in Strait of Belle Isle

A woman from Port Hope Simpson had to cancel three appointments and now she's worried an impending storm will mean more travel delays.

Icebreaker expected to arrive just before midnight Tuesday

The MV Apollo is stuck in ice in the Strait of Belle Isle just outside of St. Barbe. Passengers have been told an icebreaker will be arriving sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight to help free them. (Submitted by Pam Penney)

The MV Apollo is stuck in ice in the Strait of Belle Isle, just outside of St. Barbe on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula.

Pam Penney boarded the ferry with her husband Michael in Blanc-Sablon, Quebec, for the first crossing of the day, a trip that normally takes about an hour and a half.

"We noticed we were starting to slow down when the ice started coming in, and next thing you know, we're stuck. We're jammed in," she said. "We can't even back up, because we're blocked in too hard in the front, so we're here for the night."

Coast Guard sending icebreaker

She said passengers were told the Coast Guard is sending an icebreaker, the Henry Larsen, from Corner Brook to help them get out. 

Penney had to cancel three appointments in St. Anthony on Tuesday. She's had poor weather scuttle ferry crossings before, but this this first time she's been stuck in the ice.

"I can't get to my appointments, and even if the coast guard gets here, I'm expecting that with the storm coming, we're still going to be stuck in St. Barbe, so we'll have to wait out the storm there before we can even cross back to head home to Port Hope Simpson."

She said passengers have been provided vouchers for meals.

"There's people wondering where we're going to sleep to tonight," she said. "It's a little chilly on this here boat this time of year."

A statement from the provincial department of Transportation and Works said the Henry Larsen is expected to arrive by midnight to help free up the Apollo. There are 52 passengers on board the ferry.

"Meals are being provided and sleeping arrangements are being made," the statement said.

In April 2017, the Apollo was stuck for more than 30 hours before it was freed.