Ferry service between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia cancelled for Monday as burned ship towed into harbour

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Ferry service between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia cancelled for Monday as burned ship towed into harbour

The MV Holiday Island will likely remain moored for the rest of the season due to the fire that began in the ship’s engine room Friday.

Northumberland Ferries vice-president Don Cormier said at a press briefing with government officials and first responders Sunday that the engine room hasn’t been looked at for damage because the ship itself is being assessed for stability.

But officials with Transport Canada said they expect the ship to be unavailable for the rest of the summer and they’re exploring ways to replace the service.

Earlier on Sunday, Northumberland Ferries announced service between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia won’t resume on Monday.

The company is now aiming to restart travel between Caribou, N.S., and Wood Islands, P.E.I., with the MV Confederation starting Tuesday morning.

Northumberland Ferries said the cancellation is due to the “ongoing recovery efforts and customer care” related to the MV Holiday Island, which had to be evacuated two days ago due to a fire.

The MV Holiday Island is shown on Sunday. The ship was towed to harbour early in the morning. (CBC/Tony Davis)

The Holiday Island is primarily used during the peak season, performing four round trips per day.

Cormier said that the Confederation has the ability to handle more trips than previously scheduled. He said it was able to handle about 85 per cent of normal traffic during a service disruption in 2016.

On Saturday, the company said it believed the fire to have been contained in the engine room and the ship’s funnels. 

‘No obvious damage’ to vehicles

Tugboats successfully towed the ship into a harbour berth in Wood Islands on Sunday morning.

On Sunday afternoon, passenger vehicles could be seen rolling off of the ferry. Cormier said that the removal would probably be completed Sunday afternoon and that there appeared to be “no obvious damage” to the vehicles.

Eighty-three vehicles were on the ship. Northumberland Ferries said Saturday all pets were rescued and there was no livestock or dangerous cargo on board.

Cars rolling off the ferry now. Some needed help from a tow truck. Update coming from federal government at 3 pm. pic.twitter.com/37GzJdGmBH

@TonyDavisCBC

Some of the passengers were waiting at the Wood Islands harbour on Sunday to check on their vehicles and belongings.

The ship was evacuatede as it was making its way toward Wood Islands on Friday, with no major injuries reported.

Two tugboats towed the ship, with a third acting as backup. (CBC/Tony Davis)

A protective barrier has been placed around the ship in case of any fuel or oil leaks.

A Canadian Coast Guard environmental response team has been surveying the area for potential leaks. The coast guard said no pollution has been observed and that it remains hopeful no leaks will occur.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has been investigating the fire. It said a ministerial observer has been assigned to help identify potential hazards and advise on regulatory issues.

It said the ship is inspected annually by a classification society on its behalf, with Transport Canada also carrying out regular inspections. The Holiday Island was last inspected on May 11.

Cormier said the Confederation could resume service once the environmental protection barriers are removed.

Northumberland Ferries said it will give a further update on Monday regarding resumption of service.