WOOD ISLANDS, P.E.I. — Full ferry service between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia will be returning soon.
A temporary replacement for the MV Holiday Island — the MV Saaremaa — is undergoing modifications and crew members are training to sail the new ship.
This work is necessary to ensure smooth sailing in every situation and the safety of everyone onboard, said Don Cormier, vice-president of Northumberland Ferries Limited, in an Aug. 16 SaltWire interview.
While he’s not certain when service will return, the plan is to get things ready for this week, Cormier said.
“It’s not quite as simple as driving a new car off the lot,” he said. “There’s a lot of detail in ships and ships’ design, where people need to be able to respond to all kinds of different scenarios.”
Cormier and his colleagues at NFL know just how important it is to prepare for any situation. The MV Holiday Island, which the Saaremaa is taking over for, sustained a fire in the engine room while it was travelling the Northumberland Strait, just off the coast of Wood Islands.
With the Holiday Island now in its berth in P.E.I. for repairs, the Saaremaa will have to begin its daily voyages in Nova Scotia. This will limit NFL to seven total round trip journeys between Nova Scotia and P.E.I., where they would normally run eight each day.
“It’s not quite as simple as driving a new car off the lot. There’s a lot of detail in ships and ships’ design, where people need to be able to respond to all kinds of different scenarios.” – Don Cormier, vice-president of Northumberland Ferries Limited
In the fall, though, that changes to six trips, so the decreased crossings will only impact about two weeks, Cormier said.
Along with the training for crew members, the Saaremaa needed modifications to its alignment and transportation ramps. NFL is also working to ensure amenities and services meet the standard clients expect from NFL trips, Cormier said.
In terms of capacity, the replacement vessel can hold more passengers than the Holiday Island — 600 in total — but fewer vehicles — 150 in total. This includes capacity for trucks, and the company will be ready to help trucks move the fall harvest, Cormier said.
“We want to make sure our company and our services are there to support the trucking that’s involved in supporting agriculture, fisheries, forestry exports.”