The MV Beaumont Hamel is set to takeover ferry service to Fogo Island and Change Islands for approximately two weeks beginning Friday.
According to the Department of Transportation and Works, the vessel was to leave Portugal Cove Thursday afternoon and begin serving those islands this afternoon.
The regular vessel for that area, the MV Captain Earl W. Winsor, was to leave this evening to undergo an underwater survey and inspection at the dry dock in St. John’s.
That work is expected to take two weeks and will not involve the annual refit, which is now scheduled to take place in September.
“The interim docking will allow the Earl Winsor to return to Fogo for the heavy traffic expected during July and August,” said a departmental spokeswoman in an emailed statement.
According to Wabana Mayor Gary Gosine, the Beaumont Hamel initially left St. John’s at 2 a.m. Monday destined for the Fogo run. However, the vessel only made it as far as Portugal Cove that day.
The spokeswoman said there was a small issue with the vessel that needed to be addressed before it could depart to Fogo.
Bell Island is down to a one-vessel service instead of two while the Beaumont Hamel is otherwise in use. That has been the case for approximately a month.
Residents of the island had hoped the MV Grace Sparkes would make it a two-vessel run once repairs were completed on that ship, which had been operating on the Bell Island run since February in order to accommodate the MV Beaumont Hamel’s annual refit.
Instead, the Grace Sparkes went back to its regular ferry run from Burnside to St. Brendan’s Monday. Ferry service there was interrupted after the only operating swing vessel in Newfoundland and Labrador, the MV Sound of Islay, encountered an issue last week that required repairs.