The Northern Ranger. Image from CAI Nunatsiavut Marine www.labradorferry.ca
The MV Northern Ranger services communities in Northern Labrador whenever it is in service. As of late, according to the Government of Nunatsiavut, it is not in service enough.
According to a statement issued by the Nunatsiavut government mid-day today, the ship is not serving the needs of the communities on its Northern run.
Nunatsiavut First Minister Darryl Shiwak has called upon the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to immediately decommission the ship and find a replacement.
“The Northern Ranger was built more than 30 years ago and has long outlived its usefulness,” Shiwak stated. “The vessel has been plagued with numerous mechanical problems in recent years and has failed to provide an adequate service to our people and our communities.”
The Nunatsiavut government states it has raised the issue of a replacement for the Northern Ranger “on numerous occasions” with provincial Transportation and Works Minister Tom Hedderson.
Hedderson, according to the statement, has replied there are no immediate plans to replace the vessel.
“The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador keeps throwing good money after bad,” Shiwak states.
“What we need is a new, modern vessel – one that is capable of serving the long-term needs of northern Labrador. What we have now is an inadequate freight service and an old and unreliable vessel ... Our people and our communities deserve better.”
On Sept. 4, the provincial government issued notice the Northern Ranger would be taken out of service “until further notice.”
“Technicians discovered that the gearbox of the vessel requires repairs, and so it became necessary to take the vessel out of service. At present, it is expected that the vessel will be out of service for a period of six weeks,” the news release states.
The province notes the service is provided by CAI Nunatsiavut Marine and that CAI is seeking a replacement for the ship.
During the interruption in service, CAI has been arranging for people and supplies to be brought to the Northern communities by air.
The Telegram has contacted the provincial government for response on the matter and will have any further updates available in tomorrow’s print and digital edition.