Nfld. & Labrador

Small fire aboard MV Veteran knocks ferry out of service, expected back Friday

A small fire aboard the MV Veteran Tuesday night has put the Fogo Island-Change Islands ferry out of commission until Friday.

Extent of damages still to be determined, says Minister Al Hawkins

The new ferry for the Fogo Island-Change Islands run has been sidelined due to a small fire Tuesday night. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

A small fire aboard the MV Veteran has put the Fogo Island-Change Islands ferry out of commission, with the vessel expected to return Friday, Jan. 22.

The Department of Transportation and Works said the fire happened around 8:15 p.m., and was extinguished by automated systems.

The fire appears to have been in the stack of the emergency generator compartment, located to one side of the car deck, a department spokesperson said in an email.

High winds blew some smoke into the body of the ship.

As of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, fixed-wing flights from Fogo Island to Gander and helicopter flights from Change Islands to Farewell were scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

Flights will be operated by Air Labrador with an aircraft capable of carrying 19 passengers, flying between the Fogo Island airstrip and Gander International Airport.

Helicopter service will be on a load-and-go, first-come, first-served basis between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily, weather permitting. 

Passengers will be charged standard walk-on rates and updates are available on the provincial marine services website.

Incident under investigation 

Minister of Transportation and Works Al Hawkins said the incident is currently under investigation.

"Hopefully we'll be able to determine throughout the day exactly how much damage was done and the extent," Hawkins told CBC's Central Morning Show.

The province is also looking at replacement ferry options, should the vessel be out longer than expected, Hawkins said. 

"Right now, we will be updating everybody on a regular basis as to how we're proceeding," he said.

The $50-million ship first started servicing the run last month, but within days ran into a problem with a thruster and was out of service for a day.