New Bell Island ferry MV Legionnaire launched in Romania

A state-of-the-art vessel capable of carrying 200 passengers and up to 65 vehicles will soon be sailing in Conception Bay.
The MV Legionnaire was officially launched in Bucharest, Romania on Wednesday. The $100-million vessel is expected to be on the Bell Island run by March 2016. (Damen Shipyards)

The MV Legionnaire has been launched in Romania, far away from the route it will serve near Bell Island. 

A ceremony took place Wednesday in Bucharest, where workers at Damen Shipyards worked on what's described as a state-of-the-art vessel. 

The vessel can carry 200 passengers and as many as 65 vehicles.

David Brazil, Newfoundland and Labrador's transportation and works minister, was present for the launch.

Brazil told CBC News there are still issues with paying federal tariffs, and said there are several arguments for exempting Newfoundland and Labrador from paying them. 

"The Canadian government has already exempted five vessels for B.C. ferries, and we're saying based on that," he said. 

"We're also based on the principle that under [the] Terms of Union, there were clauses there that no tax or tariffs would be on our ferry services, because we had taken that over," referring to the negotiated terms that brought Newfoundland into Confederation in 1949.

"That originally was controlled and operated by the federal government." 

Brazil said he met with the Canadian ambassador to Romania this week, and is scheduled to speak with federal officials in Ottawa next month. 

He added that he's hopeful the federal government will waive the tariff. 

The $50-million Legionnaire is expected to be on the Bell Island run in March 2016.

It was named in honour of the country's veterans as well as the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
Transportation and Works Minister David Brazil joined officials and workers of Damen Shipyards for the launch of the MV Legionnaire on Wednesday. (Damen Shipyards)