Ferry service has resumed for Francois and Gaultois after more than a week of shuttling passengers via helicopter.
According to Gerry Puddister of Puddister Trading Co, the company that provides the ferry services for the west coast, the damage to the MV Marine Voyager, which was servicing the route, was caused when the boat backed into a piece of ice, leaving a weakness in the hull the size of a quarter.
“When Transport Canada did an ultrasound of the hull, they found a couple of other weak areas in the hull so it ended up being out of service for two weeks. It’s hard to anticipate how long these issues will take to fix.”
While the ferry in St. John’s for service, a helicopter was used to transport passengers.
Puddister said he understands that using helicopter services to transport residents is not an ideal situation.
“We have a vessel we use as a spare when boats go out of service for prolonged time periods, but we figured the Voyager would be back in a week.”
Burgeo-La Poile MHA Andrew Parsons said although the use of helicopters can be inconvenient for residents and passengers, he is not hearing many complaints from his constituents.
“People are generally patient and understanding, they expect bad weather and boats have to go in for servicing and that they will have mechanical issues. They just like to be regularly updated. Not knowing what is going on is what they find the most frustrating.”
The MV Challenge One, is scheduled to return to her usual run between La Poile-Rose Blanche run today, April 12. While the Voyager was out of service, the Challenge One was being used to cover other routes.
The MV Sound of Islay will continue to service the Ramea to Burgeo run as the MV Gallipoli, which normally services this route, is out for repairs with an unspecified return date.
Parsons said a teleconference involving him, the ferry committee, local council members and the Department of Works Services and Transportation is planned for next week to discuss the status of the Gallipoli ferry.
The MV Terra Nova is back to servicing Gaultois run, and the MV Marine Eagle has left La Poile for a refit in St. John’s.
The Gulf News reached out to the Department of Transportation and Works for further details but they have not responded.