Nfld. & Labrador

Bell Island passengers furious after ferry turns around

Angry Bell Island ferry users refused Monday night to get off the MV Flanders after it turned around instead of completing a trip across Conception Bay.

Police called to help end impromptu protest

Bell Island passengers hold up ferry after it turns back, reports Amy Stoodley 2:24

Angry Bell Island ferry users railed against the service Monday night by refusing to get off the MV Flanders after it turned around instead of completing a trip across  Conception Bay. 

The passengers had earlier left the cove for Bell Island, but instead ended up back where they started. Passengers say the captain indicated he couldn't dock on the Bell Island side because he felt the seas were too rough.

Passengers were skeptical, and for more than an hour refused to disembark.

"I felt it was right to stand up for our rights and I stayed there and requested the captain come explain to us why we docked on the Portugal Cove side. He wasn't able to dock our vessel in 30 km winds," said passenger Melissa Skehans.

Adam Cobb said he didn't buy the explanation that he and other passengers were given.

"The captain didn't even attempt to try to  get in on the island side," Cobb said.

"He could have at least made an attempt just so everyone could see if it was rough or not. But we went across on it ... you didn't even know you were on it."

There was no immediate explanation from the ferry service as to why the run was disrupted.

Police were eventually called, which prompted passengers to disembark.

"I think it's a lack of respect for our community, for the government, for the taxpayers who fork out their money to have this transportation there for Bell Islanders," said Skehans.

"It is servicing over thousands of people on a daily basis [but] it's very unreliable."

It's not known if the disrupted passengers were able to get to Bell Island on a later crossing.

A new ferry for the Bell Island run is due for delivery by 2016.

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