Nfld. & Labrador

'Nothing but trouble': MV Veteran down again with thruster problems

Both ferries were temporarily taken out of service this week with port thruster issues. The Veteran has yet to return.

Sister ship Legionnaire also sidelined, but that ferry is back in service

The MV Veteran has been brought to St. John's. A spokesperson for the provincial government said boat builder Damen, and Rolls Royce, which manufactured the boat's engine, are working to fix the ferry. (Rob Antle/CBC)

Both of Newfoundland and Labrador's newest $50-million ferries were sidelined this week with a pair of port thruster issues, adding to the long list of problems with the beleaguered boats.

The Legionnaire was tied up overnight Tuesday when technicians found a problem with a computer card which ran the thruster, according to a statement from the Department of Transportation and Works.

The ferry returned to work on Wednesday, but the Veteran was removed from the Fogo Island—Change Islands run that same day.

A mechanical issue is affecting bearings in the boat's port thruster, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said Friday afternoon, and technicians are still working to determine the scope of the problem. 

In the meantime, the Beaumont Hamel is working on an enhanced schedule on the Fogo Island route.

'Nothing but trouble'

It's another interruption in service for the beleaguered Veteran — already branded as a "lemon" by some Fogo Island residents — which has seen several problems since its maiden voyage from Romania to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2015.

The boat's port thruster was also the cause of a breakdown in April 2016, when the Veteran was taken out of service for nearly three months.

"I wouldn't even be able to guess, but I know many, many times it's been taken off for different reasons," said Eugene Nippard, the new citizens representative on the Fogo Island transportation committee.

"Fifty million dollars for this beautiful boat to look at, and it's been nothing but trouble right from the beginning."

The MV Veteran has been brought out of service several time since its maiden voyage for Newfoundland, including issues with its ramp, port thruster, bow thruster and ice damage. (Rob Antle/CBC)

The Legionnaire, which services the Bell Island run, has also seen issues with its ramps. It arrived in Bell Island in July, delayed by other problems with the wharves in Portugal Cove and Bell Island.

"The department works to address all maintenance issues as quickly as possible when they arise," wrote Rodney Drover, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation in an email.

"Damen and Rolls Royce [builder and engine manufacturer] are working diligently to return the MV Veteran to service as quickly as possible."

Nippard said the ongoing saga of the Veteran is the talk of the town on Fogo Island.

"It's the topic of interest wherever you go, they can't believe [it], you know," he said.

"We're so disappointed."


Garrett Barry


Garrett Barry is a CBC reporter, working primarily with The St. John's Morning Show.