Veteran down, helicopter up: Fogo Island ferry out of service again

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The tormented Fogo Island ferry is grounded Wednesday and transportation officials are making arrangements for a helicopter to pick up passengers from there and from Change Islands, on the northeast coast of Newfoundland.

A notice from the Department of Transportation and Works said the MV Veteran needs repairs. 

"Testing is taking place this evening and the vessel could return to service tomorrow.  As a precaution, the department is making arrangements for helicopter services in the event they are needed," a spokesperson wrote CBC News late Wednesday afternoon.

The advisory earlier in the day said that Marine Services is considering swapping out the required parts for the mechanical repairs from the MV Legionnaire, which is docked in Lewisporte.

The Legionnaire, destined for the Bell Island service, is a sister ship of the Veteran. The two ferries were built by the same Romanian shipyard.

The $50-million Veteran has been plagued by issues since the Newfoundland and Labrador government took ownership in December 2015.

While most problems involved the port thruster, there were issues with the ramp in January, leaving hockey teams stranded on Fogo Island.

There's no word on when the Legionnaire will be brought to Portugal Cove where wharf upgrades designed to accommodate the huge ferry are delayed and over-budget.