Labrador Marine ferry service to resume after passengers stranded over weekend

Passengers stranded for days after trying to cross the Strait of Belle Isle over the weekend are set to sail Tuesday as ferry service resumes. 

Kayla Viscount and her family cut short their trip to Orlando, Fla., in a race to avoid the remnants of Hurricane Dorian.

Despite reaching St. Barbe by Friday, she said, they were too late to make it across the strait.

"We didn't see any reason why the ferry would not go at all Friday.t was a beautiful calm day. And then Saturday they just had the one crossing," Viscount said.

The family is missing work and school, she added, with the expenses piling up. Viscount said they've experienced delays in the winter, but didn't expect wind and rain to cause a similar length of disruption.

"If there's any wind the ferry doesn't cross at all. That's not acceptable," she said.

"We've never had to deal with this before. The ferry was always going and the wind was never really a factor, but now it is."


Dave Leyden, operations manager for Labrador Marine owner Woodward Group, said a severe weather advisory was posted on the Labrador Marine website to inform passengers of the delay.

"When there is adverse weather we provide as much notice as possible. Once the weather allows [us] to safely operate we add extra departures as required to clear any traffic," Leyden said in a written statement.

Leyden said the ship's captains know the limitations of the Strait of Belle Isle route, and made the call to move the ship out of harm's way given the severity of the weekend storm.

"The ports of Blanc Sablon and St. Barbe don't allow for safe haven; while it seems like the weather was acceptable to operate longer, in order to ensure the safety of ship and crew, the vessel had to leave the area to reach refuge before the storm hit," he said.

The Qajaq W, due to arrive at 10 p.m. Monday in St. Barbe, will sail on its regular schedule beginning Tuesday morning.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador