Marine Atlantic announced late Thursday afternoon it will have to suspend ferry service from Argentia for at least two weeks in order to address capacity issues following yesterday’s accident involving the MV Blue Puttees.
The MV Atlantic Vision will switch to the Port aux Basques-North Sydney route while the Blue Puttees undergoes dry dock repairs in Halifax.
Marine Atlantic said moving it to the other route would double capacity on the Atlantic Vision due to a shorter crossing time. It said that would help transport more travellers displaced as a result of Wednesday’s incident.
As it was preparing to dock Wednesday morning, the Blue Puttees ran aground in Port aux Basques. It returned to dock at approximately 5 p.m., according to Marine Atlantic.
The company said the vessel’s bulbous bow was damaged. The Blue Puttees is expected to remain unavailable until late August.
Refunds will be offered to those affected by the changes, with re-bookings available through the Port aux Basques-North Sydney route. Marine Atlantic will also provide travel vouchers for passengers to use for future trips for those with delays exceeding 13 hours, and complimentary meals will be offered to those delayed by four to 13 hours.
Marine Atlantic says underwater inspections of the MV Blue Puttees by divers have determined that the vessel has sustained some damage to its bulbous bow, a piece of equipment used for vessel operating efficiency.
“While the vessel’s integrity has not been compromised and is able to sail, the bulbous bow must be repaired in accordance with regulatory requirements,” Marine Atlantic said in an updated news release this afternoon.
As a result of this information, Marine Atlantic said it plans to sail the vessel to Halifax to allow dry dock repairs to take place, once it has been released by authorities.
Unfortunately, Marine Atlantic said, based on the current analysis, it is estimated that the vessel will be unavailable for service until late August. Once the vessel is in dry dock, a clearer picture of potential timeframes will become more apparent.
The removal of the vessel from service will affect Marine Atlantic’s sailing schedule for the coming weeks. While three vessels will remain in service, Marine Atlantic said the removal of the capacity offered by the MV Blue Puttees will result in challenges.
A revised schedule is currently being drafted. Customers will be contacted through Marine Atlantic’s customer contact system with updated sailing times. Marine Atlantic said customers will be provided with as much notice as possible to allow their travel plans to be adjusted.
It has also issued an apology for this inconvenience and is thanking affected passengers for their patience. Further updates will be provided as additional information becomes available.
In a news release early Thursday morning, Marine Atlantic said an investigation into what caused Wednesday’s incident involving the MV Blue Puttees becoming grounded in Port aux Basques is continuing.
However, it said it’s not aware of information suggesting mechanical issues with the vessel.
“The purpose of the investigation, involving outside agencies such as the Transportation Safety Board, is to determine the exact cause and those agencies are just getting underway,” the release stated.
All passengers with reservations from Wednesday night and Thursday were rebooked with revised crossing times on the MV Atlantic Vision, MV Highlanders and MV Leif Ericson.
Marine Atlantic says an investigation into what caused Wednesday’s incident involving the MV Blue Puttees becoming grounded in Port aux Basques is continuing this morning.
However, in a news release, Marine Atlantic said it’s not aware of information suggesting mechanical issues with the vessel.
“The purpose of the investigation, involving outside agencies such as the Transportation Safety Board, is to determine the exact cause and those agencies are just getting underway,” the release states. “Further inspections on the underwater section of the vessel to determine the amount of potential damage that may have been experienced will be done this morning.”
All passengers with reservations from Wednesday night and today have been rebooked to revised crossing times on the MV Atlantic Vision, MV Highlanders and MV Leif Ericson and Marine Atlantic says all of these passengers have been contacted.
It says there will likely be further adjustments to sailing times in the coming days and passengers will be contacted in advance of their sailings with revised information.
Marine Atlantic said it thanks affected passengers for their patience. Further updates will be provided as additional information becomes available.
A slideshow of photos of the MV Blue Puttees after it ran aground in Port aux Basques can be viewed by clicking HERE.