Ferry fire inspectors dealing with flooded engine room

Ferry fire inspectors dealing with flooded engine room

The federal Transportation Safety Board has started an investigation into the fire on P.E.I.'s ferry service.

The fire aboard the Holiday Island on Friday started near the Wood Islands terminal. The ferry was evacuated without serious injuries to any of the more than 200 people aboard. Northumberland Ferries Ltd. confirmed ferry service will resume Wednesday, but it will be a reduced service with the Holiday Island out for at least the rest of the season.

The Transportation Safety Board has four investigators on the Island, but they have not been able to get into the engine room yet. It was full of water on Tuesday.

"That's where the fire was, in the engine room, and for safety reasons the compartment is not yet accessible," said Marie-Helene Roy, TSB's manager of marine operations in Atlantic Canada.

A marine chemist has determined it's safe to enter the engine room once the water is gone, according to Northumberland Ferries Ltd. vice-president Don Cormier.

Divers continue to work underneath to try to stop water getting into the boat. There is no timeline on how long it will take.

The TSB is an independent agency, said Roy, and will produce a report that examines causes and contributory factors but does not assign blame. Any recommendations in the report will be directed to particular federal ministers, who will have 90 days to respond.

The investigation is still in the early stages of the first phase, the field phase, said Roy. That will be followed by an examination and analysis phase, and finally the report-writing phase.

Roy said the entire process could take more than a year.

Northumberland Ferries released a revised sailing schedule for the MV Confederation that will be in effect starting Wednesday, with four round trips a day as follows:

  • From Wood Islands at 7 and 10 a.m. and 1:30 and 5 p.m.

  • From Caribou at 8:30 and 11:45 a.m. and 3:15 and 6:30 p.m.