Agency reviewing appeal of gulf ferry

Rob Antle
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Transportation CTA determining whether Marine Atlantic can use vessel for cargo service

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) is reviewing an application that questions Marine Atlantic's use of a foreign-registered vessel on the gulf ferry run.

The CTA has already ruled in favour of Marine Atlantic's plans for passenger traffic and passenger vehicle traffic on the North Sydney to Port aux Basques run for the next 12 months.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) is reviewing an application that questions Marine Atlantic's use of a foreign-registered vessel on the gulf ferry run.

The CTA has already ruled in favour of Marine Atlantic's plans for passenger traffic and passenger vehicle traffic on the North Sydney to Port aux Basques run for the next 12 months.

But the agency has delayed its final decision on cargo service, according to Mark Comeau, senior communications adviser for the CTA.

Marine Atlantic plans to use the Atlantic Vision to service the gulf run for the next five years. The vessel is registered in Cyprus.

Generally, all marine transportation in Canadian waters - between two Canadian ports - is reserved for Canadian-flagged vessels.

Carriers can apply for permission to bring in a foreign ship to do the work. Marine Atlantic did so in this case, for the Atlantic Vision.

In such cases, the CTA notifies the entire shipping industry in Canada.

In 85 per cent of cases, Comeau said, no offers are made to counter the foreign ship.

But in the Atlantic Vision case, Great Lakes Feeder Lines (GLFL) offered the Dutch Runner, a Canadian-registered vessel, to do the job.

After assessing the matter, the CTA determined there is no Canadian ship suitable and available to perform passenger and passenger vehicle ferry service on the gulf run.

It OK'd the Atlantic Vision for those purposes.

But the agency reserved its final decision for cargo service. The CTA granted temporary permission for Marine Atlantic to use the Atlantic Vision to carry freight until the end of July.

The deadline for both sides to file further information was Friday, Comeau noted.

The CTA plans to make its decision by the end of the month. Those decisions are forwarded to the minister of public safety for confirmation.

Meanwhile, according to Comeau, Marine Atlantic has filed an application contesting the CTA's original decision to consider passenger and cargo traffic separately.

"We're going to have to make a ruling on that as well," Comeau noted.

Marine Atlantic spokeswoman Tara Laing said it's business as usual, for now.

"We will continue to operate on the current published schedule," Laing said. "Essentially, we're going to continue to work with the agency until they make a decision."

She said the Atlantic Vision has been working the gulf ferry route since April, and its original application for licensing was accepted without contest.

According to Laing, there have been no similar appeals involving Marine Atlantic in recent years.

"I'm not going to speculate on what the agency's decision is going to be," she said.

Officials with Ontario-based Great Lakes Feeder Lines were not available for comment before deadline.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Canadian Transportation Agency, Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: Great Lakes, North Sydney, Port aux Basques Cyprus Canada

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Recent comments

  • Sara
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Sarah, according to the BC Ferries website, you must be a child under 11 riding a bicycle... that's the only free fares I can see listed there. But don't take my word for it, check for yourself. People referred to the service as cattle boats for years, so they get a new modern ship and yet people complain. Guess you can't please some people.

  • Barrellman
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    The larger issue is Marine Atlantic's continuing practice of leasing vessels offshore while Canadian shipyards lie idle. The Caribou and sister ship Smallwood were both built in Canada, employing Canadians, owned by Marine Atlantic, renovated as traffic demanded, and have served the corporation, shippers and the travelling public well. With what Marine Atlantic has learned from operating both ferries, its engineers should be drafting plans for an additional vessel or vessels based on the original hull design for the Caribou instead of shopping around offshore at used ferry lots for replacement vessels.

  • Sarah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    To Really researcher:

    You might need to hone your googling skills.....some BC ferries are free....I have been on them.

    The state of marine Atlantic is because of the many people such as Researcher, who think we deserve 2nd class treatment from our govts. No one said to leave us with just the Smallwood, etc.....we need a modern ferry that can handle the traffic, the weather, the ports and have more reasonable rates for the traveller. It is very expensive to travel via the Gulf.....and service is barely adequate. It's time for Nldrs to fight for equality.....we have been forgotten about for far too long.

    Wonder if Researcher is a member of Gerry's family?

  • Really
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Some people make me ashamed to be from Newfoundland. A certain portion of this province complains about everything, no matter what it is and the sense of entitlement is astonishing.

    Here, have a look at the Canadian ship that Great Lakes Feeder Lines (GLFL) is proposing to use instead of the Vision.

    http://www.glfl.ca/dutch-runner.html

    I can only imagine the uproar with the amount of travelers left on the wharf and cargo blocked up with what that dinky can transport going all of 12 knots. We'd be left with the Smallwood, Caribou and Ericson for passengers and a ship that can bring less than the Freighter for cargo. So instead of increasing capacity, which is the whole intention of the Vision, we'd end up with less. Yep, those idiots!

    And Google is a great tool. Type in BC Ferries and see what you come up with. I'll save you some time.

    http://www.bcferries.com/fares/

    Why do they have a section listed as FARES if it is supposedly a free service? If you look at the length of trips and COST, it actually works out to more per nautical mile than our service. Guess their company can't run a $10 million dollar deficit every year.

  • Thomas
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Besides checking to see if Marine Atlantic followed the regulations on sailing a foreign-registered vessel in the Gulf, there should be a governing body out there to investigate which idiot thought the Visions was appropriate for the Gulf!!! I have been on the Vision.....not enough seating to accommodate all the passengers.....but it can take MORE vehicles.....but where are the passengers supposed to go....overboard????? Whomever, in their wisdom, thought this ship would serve the public well on the Gulf run has never seen a ferry before let alone travelled on one. It's time the NL gov't took up the fight for the people......fight for better service and cheaper fares. The BC gov't runs several ferries without charge because they are an extension of the TCH!!!!!!

    Where is Gerry Byrne now???? Start your fight for ALL Nldrs, Mr Byrne, and not just those in the Forces.

  • bill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    foreign registered ships, whats next Marine Atlantic, foreign crews who can work for less, just like an oil company in NB did with some of its tankers

  • Sara
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Sarah, according to the BC Ferries website, you must be a child under 11 riding a bicycle... that's the only free fares I can see listed there. But don't take my word for it, check for yourself. People referred to the service as cattle boats for years, so they get a new modern ship and yet people complain. Guess you can't please some people.

  • Barrellman
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    The larger issue is Marine Atlantic's continuing practice of leasing vessels offshore while Canadian shipyards lie idle. The Caribou and sister ship Smallwood were both built in Canada, employing Canadians, owned by Marine Atlantic, renovated as traffic demanded, and have served the corporation, shippers and the travelling public well. With what Marine Atlantic has learned from operating both ferries, its engineers should be drafting plans for an additional vessel or vessels based on the original hull design for the Caribou instead of shopping around offshore at used ferry lots for replacement vessels.

  • Sarah
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    To Really researcher:

    You might need to hone your googling skills.....some BC ferries are free....I have been on them.

    The state of marine Atlantic is because of the many people such as Researcher, who think we deserve 2nd class treatment from our govts. No one said to leave us with just the Smallwood, etc.....we need a modern ferry that can handle the traffic, the weather, the ports and have more reasonable rates for the traveller. It is very expensive to travel via the Gulf.....and service is barely adequate. It's time for Nldrs to fight for equality.....we have been forgotten about for far too long.

    Wonder if Researcher is a member of Gerry's family?

  • Really
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Some people make me ashamed to be from Newfoundland. A certain portion of this province complains about everything, no matter what it is and the sense of entitlement is astonishing.

    Here, have a look at the Canadian ship that Great Lakes Feeder Lines (GLFL) is proposing to use instead of the Vision.

    http://www.glfl.ca/dutch-runner.html

    I can only imagine the uproar with the amount of travelers left on the wharf and cargo blocked up with what that dinky can transport going all of 12 knots. We'd be left with the Smallwood, Caribou and Ericson for passengers and a ship that can bring less than the Freighter for cargo. So instead of increasing capacity, which is the whole intention of the Vision, we'd end up with less. Yep, those idiots!

    And Google is a great tool. Type in BC Ferries and see what you come up with. I'll save you some time.

    http://www.bcferries.com/fares/

    Why do they have a section listed as FARES if it is supposedly a free service? If you look at the length of trips and COST, it actually works out to more per nautical mile than our service. Guess their company can't run a $10 million dollar deficit every year.

  • Thomas
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Besides checking to see if Marine Atlantic followed the regulations on sailing a foreign-registered vessel in the Gulf, there should be a governing body out there to investigate which idiot thought the Visions was appropriate for the Gulf!!! I have been on the Vision.....not enough seating to accommodate all the passengers.....but it can take MORE vehicles.....but where are the passengers supposed to go....overboard????? Whomever, in their wisdom, thought this ship would serve the public well on the Gulf run has never seen a ferry before let alone travelled on one. It's time the NL gov't took up the fight for the people......fight for better service and cheaper fares. The BC gov't runs several ferries without charge because they are an extension of the TCH!!!!!!

    Where is Gerry Byrne now???? Start your fight for ALL Nldrs, Mr Byrne, and not just those in the Forces.

  • bill
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    foreign registered ships, whats next Marine Atlantic, foreign crews who can work for less, just like an oil company in NB did with some of its tankers