Ferry on the way to replace fire-damaged Holiday Island

·2 min read
The MV Saaremaa 1, owned by Société des traversiers du Québec, will undergo testing in Caribou, N.S. (Société des traversiers du Québec - image credit)
The MV Saaremaa 1, owned by Société des traversiers du Québec, will undergo testing in Caribou, N.S. (Société des traversiers du Québec - image credit)

A replacement ferry for the MV Holiday Island could be carrying passengers between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia by mid-August.

The MV Saaremaa 1 left Trois-Rivières, Que, Wednesday and will undergo testing at Caribou, N.S., Northumberland Ferries Ltd. said in a news release.

The evaluation is expected to take up to 10 days. If "everything fits," it should be arriving in Wood Islands shortly thereafter, said P.E.I. MP Lawrence MacAulay.

"We hope to have this vessel crossing the strait by the middle of August, that's the hope," he said in an interview with CBC News: Compass.

"It looks like this will hopefully fill the bill."

MV Holiday Island has been out of commission since July 22 when a fire in the engine room caused extensive damage and forced the evacuation of about 200 people on board. It is expected to be docked for the rest of the season.

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

The other ferry running between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia, the MV Confederation, has been making extra trips to make up for the loss.

MV Saaremaa 1, owned by Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ), comes when tourism season is in full swing in the Maritimes. It would be recalled in case of a mechanical disruption occurring on one of STQ's other ferry routes, the release said.

Capacity for 600 passengers

MV Saaremaa 1 was built in Norway in 2010. It is just under 100 metres long and can reach a cruising speed of around 16 knots. It has capacity for 110 vehicles and 600 passengers, including 300 seats.

It includes a cafeteria and a furnished outdoor deck.

The MV Holiday Island, by comparison, can fit 155 vehicles and 399 passengers and reach a cruising speed of 12 knots.

"We are extremely grateful to STQ and the Province of Québec for their responsiveness and willingness to assist, and for the hard work of all of their personnel which has enabled this evaluation to take place," Northumberland Ferries CEO Mark MacDonald said in the release.

Editor's note: Northumberland Ferries Ltd. issued a news release after this interview was broadcast.

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