Marine Atlantic renews lease for MV Atlantic Vision
Marine Atlantic has renewed the lease agreement for the MV Atlantic Vision until November 2017, the Crown corporation announced Tuesday.
However, it will be some time yet before a decision is made on two other vessels, the sister ships MV Blue Puttees and the MV Highlanders.
The federal government is paying nearly $40 million for the lease renewal on the Atlantic Vision, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt stated in a news release.
The vessel is owned by the Estonian ferry company Tallink, and was built in 2002 in Germany.
"The renewal of the MV Atlantic Vision lease term is very good news for all the passengers and businesses that use the ferry services between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia," Raitt said.
One of four vessels operated by Marine Atlantic
The 200-metre MV Atlantic Vision joined Marine Atlantic's fleet in 2009.
The vessel services the North Sydney-Argentia seasonal route, along with serving the run between Port aux Basques and Nova Scotia.
The Atlantic Vision is one of four vessels operated by Marine Atlantic.
The Blue Puttees and the Highlanders joined the Marine Atlantic fleet in 2011, and are owned by the Stena Line.
The lease for these two vessels expires at the end of 2015.
Darrell Mercer, a spokesperson for Marine Atlantic, said discussions are ongoing with the Government of Canada regarding future fleet configurations.
There is a clause in the agreement that allows for an extension of the lease of the Blue Puttees and Highlanders vessels.
Mercer said that option could be considered.
The MV Leif Ericson, meanwhile, is owned by Marine Atlantic.
Lease helps bolster operations
All four vessels have the ability to accommodate both commercial and passenger traffic at the same time, and all are ice-class vessels with the ability to travel through ice conditions during the winter months.
"With this three year renewal, we will continue our long-term planning initiatives and further evaluate the best options for our future fleet configuration," said Paul Griffin, president and CEO of Marine Atlantic.
"Having the MV Atlantic Vision available for service over the next three years will ensure we continue strengthening our operations and have the necessary infrastructure available to meet the needs of our customers.
"We are proud to see the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to strengthening our service for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and all of Atlantic Canada."