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A ferry repair ‘nightmare’ for Grand Manan, N.B., fisheries


A planned six-week refit for the ferry servicing Grand Manan has dragged on into the first week of lobster season, and that’s impacting a major economic driver for the island, according to village Mayor Bonnie Morse.

The Grand Manan Adventure was set for a scheduled six-week refit and was supposed to be back in service this past weekend, Morse said. With lobster season kicking off Monday, that’s meant the smaller Grand Manan V has been on the hook to carry the catch, as well as islanders, back to the mainland.

“There was a lot of work that they had to do, so we knew it was going to be a longer-term thing than what

was normal,” she said. “For Grand Manan, the lobster fishery is the backbone of our economy and it’s vitally important that we have the ferry capacity to be able to ship lobster, because it’s a live

product. It needs to get off the island quickly and in a timely fashion.”

The Adventure, delivered in 2009, can carry 360 passengers and 82 cars. The V, registered in 1990, can carry 300 passengers and 60 cars, according to the province. The Grand Manan route is operated by Coastal Transport Limited, which also runs to Deer Island and White Head Island.

“With it only being the V that’s still on the run, it just doesn’t have the capacity to take up with the demand from our major industry during the most critical time for that industry,” she said, saying they’re hopeful to see the boat return this coming weekend.

Provincial department of transportation and infrastructure spokesperson Tyler Mclean said in an email that the “intent” was to have the Adventure back this past weekend.

“With a significant north Atlantic storm in the forecast in the coming days, the vessel’s return will likely be delayed until early next week,”

Mclean said Thursday. “Coastal Transport will continue to focus on maximizing each load on the Grand Manan V until the Adventure returns.”

Morse said the issue is that there isn’t enough capacity on the secondary ship to “keep up with the economy of Grand Manan.” She said they’ve had “ongoing conversations” with the province about the 33-year-old ship nearing the end of its lifespan.

“It takes a long time to acquire another ferry ... it’s a major investment for the province, obviously, but it’s one that we need to start having that conversation about,” she said, noting that it took about 10 years to get the Adventure from the start of the process.

Mclean said that the province “is still exploring options for meeting capacity needs into the future.”





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