Nova Scotia

MV Blue Puttees trapped in ice since Wednesday with 40 passengers aboard

Forty passengers on a ferry that links Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are still stuck aboard the MV Blue Puttees in the ice off Cape Breton.

Coast Guard has been unable to get through ice to Marine Atlantic ferry

A camera mounted on a helicopter snapped this shot of the MV Blue Puttees stuck in ice off the coast of Cape Breton in 2014. (CBC)

Forty passengers are still stuck aboard the MV Blue Puttees in the ice off Cape Breton. 

The Marine Atlantic ferry, which connects Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, has been there since Wednesday afternoon.

The Louis S. St-Laurent — the largest icebreaker in the Canadian Coast Guard's fleet — has been trying to remove the vessel but so far hasn't had any luck.

"The ice is so pressurized and thick right now in that area they are unable to get through the ice as well. We're waiting for the winds to change directions and ease some of that pressure," Marine Atlantic spokesperson Darrell Mercer said. 

He said people are trying to keep themselves occupied.

"It's certainly not a good situation when we're stuck in ice for two days.... We do have televisions that are showing different programs, things like that. We know with 40 passengers on board, they've been doing different things, playing cards, anything to occupy their time. We know time can be very long in these circumstances."

One of those trapped on the ferry is Newfoundland truck driver Wayne Elliott.

He said passengers seem to be understanding and are being treated "great" by the Marine Atlantic crew.

"They are feeding us for free, so we're good," he said.

The ferry service's other crossings are delayed or rescheduled. 

Passengers are asked to stay in contact with Marine Atlantic for updates.

Earlier this week 190 passengers were stranded on the MV Highlanders when it was stuck in the ice.

Mercer said that last winter, the ice moved into the area in late March and early April. 

"This year, it moved in early to mid-February, and it doesn’t show any signs of going away any time soon," he said. "I've heard the Canadian Coast Guard say it’s the worst of the 30-year averages they’ve been keeping."


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