SYDNEY, N.S. -- Marine Atlantic says one of its ferries is stuck in pack ice off Cape Breton.

Company spokesman Darrell Mercer says the MV Highlanders encountered heavy ice around 8 p.m. Monday, after leaving North Sydney, N.S., for Port aux Basques, N.L.

Mercer says the ferry is travelling with 190 passengers on board.

He says the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis St. Laurent travelled 12 hours to assist the ferry.

Mercer says the vessel was breaking a path for the ferry, although it's slow going.

He says easterly winds have been pushing the ice towards Cape Breton, which has created problems for ferries trying to navigate the Cabot Strait.