La Poile residents say it's unacceptable that the provincially funded ferry to their southwestern Newfoundland community is operating with just one engine.
Ray Vautier, chair of La Poile's transportation committee, said "quite a few residents" have told him they don't feel comfortable travelling on the ferry with just one engine operating.
"With two engines and one down it's hard to manoeuvre and people are afraid the other one is going to shut down. If you don't get the engine going again, in not very long you're going to be in trouble," he said.
Vautier says he has been told the vessel's only operating engine did shut down a few times while making the trip this past summer but was restarted within a few minutes.
The MV Challenge One, owned by Puddister Shipping Ltd., is contracted by the provincial government to carry passengers and freight between the communities of Rose Blanche and La Poile, a town that can't be reached by road.
Vautier says ocean conditions on the 90-minute trip between Rose Blanche and La Poile can be rough, especially during the fall and winter.
The residents of La Poile are not naive enough to think that we are ever going to get a new ferry. - Ray Vautier
In a statement, a Department of Transportation and Infrastructure official confirmed that the MV Challenge One, which has two engines, has been operating with one engine since mid-April. The statement says the safety of passengers and crew is the "top priority" for marine operations.
"The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure follows Transport Canada regulations. Transport Canada has provided all necessary required approvals for the Challenge One, which is operated by Puddister Shipping Ltd., to continue to service the La Poile route," said the emailed statement.
The department says the MV Challenge One will be coming out of service for inspections and repairs in the coming weeks. A replacement ferry will be used will the MV Challenge One is out of service.
As of the 2016 Canadian census there were 87 people living in La Poile, but Vautier estimates the town is down to about 60 residents. He said they'd be happy to have a new ferry to replace the half-century-old MV Challenge One but he also said they don't expect that will happen.
"People in La Poile are not naive enough to think that we are ever going to get a new ferry — it's a declining, aging population — but I think what people want is something newer and more reliable,' he said.
Vautier said Transport Canada shouldn't allow the ferry to continue operating with one engine.
"This wouldn't have been done years ago. It's more of a Transport Canada issue than a company issue, as far as I'm concerned," he said.
"One engine down should never be, in my opinion."
Puddister Shipping has not responded to CBC News' requests for comment by publication.
Transport Canada confirmed in an email to CBC News that it has certified the MV Challenge One.
Vautier said he doesn't believe the required 75 per cent of La Poile residents will vote to resettle "any time soon."
According to the Transportation Department, the ferry service cost about $1.4 million for the fiscal year ending March 31.