'Judgment error' left MV Gallipoli off the rails at Clarenville shipyard

Workers mistakenly placed the ferry on a slight angle when moving it on a specialized carriage, says an official with Burry's Shipyard.

Official expects south coast ferry will be back in the water by week's end

The MV Gallipoli is stuck on a marine slipway at Burry's Shipyard in Clarenville. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The MV Gallipoli was left stalled on a marine railway in Clarenville because of a "judgment error" when the ferry was being moved, according to an official with Burry's Shipyard.

A company spokesman, who asked not to be named, said the provincially owned ferry was mistakenly put on "a slight angle" on its specialized carriage.

The spokesman said that caused the carriage to become "misaligned" on its rails as workers were attempting to move the Gallipoli, leaving company officials and others scrambling to find a way to get the vessel, which weighs 611 gross tonnes, back into the water.

The company said the vessel has not been damaged, and there were no injuries.

Solution by week's end, says company

Work at the yard has been suspended, and the spokesman said he expects a solution will be found by week's end, allowing work to continue on the refit.

Transportation Minister Steve Crocker called it an unfortunate incident.

"There's going to be a delay, but one of the most important things for us is safety, and so the stop-work order will stay in place until such a time engineers have a chance to assess the situation and we follow up with a safety plan to return to work on the vessel," Crocker said Wednesday afternoon.

The company spokesman said the lift system was fully certified by an independent third party to carry the Gallipoli.

The 47-metre vessel was built in 1986 and is assigned to the Ramea-Grey River-Burgeo ferry service on the south coast of Newfoundland.

Workers at Burry's Shipyard in Clarenville were attempting to move the MV Gallipoli into the water late last week when it became stuck on a marine slipway at the yard. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

It came out of service Sept. 5 to begin a 90-day refit, but unexpected problems with steel deterioration on the vessel were discovered after it was placed on dry dock, and it's now expected to be out of service until this spring.

The refit is "well over" 50 per cent complete, said the company spokesman.

Crocker said roughly $1.5 million has been spent on the refit, and he expects the total cost to reach $3 million.

The minister said it's too early to say whether the incident will further delay the vessel's return to service.