Ferry Beaumont Hamel approaching Bell Island dock. — Telegram file photo
The Beaumont Hamel and other ferries serving provincial routes won’t meet new marine sewage regulations for ships coming into effect this summer.
Transportation and Works has issued a tender for a Transport Canada-approved marine sanitation device to be installed on the Beaumont Hamel, which is out of service for another matter, but normally runs between Portugal Cove and Bell Island.
A department spokesman said it was decided to put a new treatment system on the Beaumont Hamel rather than have trucks meet it at the ferry dock and pump out waste to meet the new rules.
The common practice now for vessels across the country has been to pump sewage overboard, but the new regulations will require a system that treats waste before it is pumped from a vessel.
Ferries with sewage systems that are already compliant with the new regulations are the two brand new vessels, the MV Hazel MacIssac and the MV Grace Sparkes, as well as the MV Northern Ranger and the MV Sir Robert Bond.
The spokesman said other vessels in the ferry service are not compliant and will have new systems installed, except for the MV Sound of Islay. That swing vessel— substituting on routes when other ferries are out for refit or other reasons — is smaller and is the next ferry up for replacement. Sewage will be pumped off the Islay by truck.
A spokesman for Transport Canada said as of May 3, vessels must be equipped with appropriate marine sanitation equipment in order to comply with the sewage regulations.
Under the regulations, ships cannot discharge raw sewage inside the three-mile territorial limit. Vessels must be equipped with approved marine sanitation devices such as retention toilets and holding tanks, and may also have approved sewage treatment systems.
Marine Atlantic said all its vessels have received certification under the new national and international regulations.