Marine Atlantic ferries between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland halted by rough seas

Marine Atlantic ferries between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland halted by rough seas

High winds and high seas halted Marine Atlantic ferry crossings between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on Sunday evening and Monday.

Winds are gusting at 90 kilometres an hour in the Cabot Strait and waves have reached six metres high, said Marine Atlantic spokesperson Darryl Mercer.

There are close to 180 passengers in North Sydney, N.S., waiting to make the crossing while 110 are stuck at Port aux Basque, N.L.

"Commercial traffic, of course, is building through last night and today, but it's still not at really high levels," Mercer said. "And passenger traffic is usually pretty low this time of year."

Pack ice moves in

Pack ice is not an issue so far, but it is being watched closely. 

"There is a bit of ice pressure now building into the docking area in North Sydney," Mercer said. "The captains have highlighted that as a potential issue."

Ice is also moving into the Cabot Strait but is not yet causing any problems for the ferries.

Both the ferries are "ice class," so most times they can get through. In March 2015, however, they required help from the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis St-Laurent to keep moving.

Two Marine Atlantic ferries, the Blue Puttees and the Highlanders, are expected to resume service at 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday.