Damaged ferry returns to service this week
The site of where a ferry ran aground is seen in Port aux Basques in Newfoundland, Wednesday, July 31, 2013.
The Newfoundland ferry that ran aground in Port-aux-Basques a few weeks ago is now back in operation.
Marine Atlantic says repairs on the MV Blue Puttees went quicker than expected.
“Last week we did receive an update from the Halifax shipyard that they were progressing ahead of schedule with the work on the Blue Puttees. This morning, we found out the work was completed over this weekend,” says Darrell Mercer of Marine Atlantic. .
The ferry resumes its run between Cape Breton and Port-aux-Basques Tuesday evening, welcome news for businesses in North Sydney that depend on the tourism dollar.
“It’s excellent, it’s great news,” says hotel owner Howie Allen. “Anything that brings people in and out of North Sydney, we’re all for it.”
The return of the Blue Puttees also means the return of the crossing to Argentia, meaning people wanting to get to or from Newfoundland’s east coast will no longer have to drive 900 kilometres across the province.
The Argentia crossing was suspended during the Blue Puttees’ absence, as Marine Atlantic tried to move backlogged customers through Port-aux-Basques. For some it meant missed vacations and for others, lost business.
“We did what we felt was in the best interest of the service,” says Mercer. “We recognize that some of our customers were inconvenienced, but thankfully we are getting the vessel back ahead of schedule.”
Marine Atlantic says it will contact Argentia travellers whose crossings have been salvaged.
As for what caused the Blue Puttees to crash in the first place, that remains under investigation by the transportation safety board.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald