Marine Atlantic crossings to resume between North Sydney and Argentia

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Marine Atlantic said engine repairs on the MV Highlanders were expected to be completed Sunday, allowing the vessel to return to service. (Marine Atlantic - image credit)
Marine Atlantic said engine repairs on the MV Highlanders were expected to be completed Sunday, allowing the vessel to return to service. (Marine Atlantic - image credit)

Marine Atlantic planned to resume crossings between Nova Scotia and southeastern Newfoundland on Sunday evening following mechanical issues on the weekend.

Two overnight crossings between Argentia, N.L., and North Sydney, N.S., on the MV Atlantic Vision were cancelled Friday and Saturday after engine trouble on board another vessel, the MV Highlanders.

The MV Atlantic Vision was pulled from its usual Argentia-North Sydney run to take over for the MV Highlanders, which regularly sails between Port aux Basques, N.L., and North Sydney.

"Our mechanical teams have advised that repairs to the engine of the MV Highlanders will be finished today and the vessel will return to service later this evening. This will allow the Atlantic Vision to resume its crossings to Argentia tonight," Darrell Mercer, a spokesperson for Marine Atlantic, said in an email Sunday.

Mercer said approximately 1,000 passengers were impacted by the two cancelled sailings and many of them had already crossed through Port aux Basques.

Mercer said remaining customers would be rebooked on the next available Argentia sailing. Those who wish to cancel their booking would receive a full refund.

"Those who wish to discuss alternate plans over the next couple of days are encouraged to contact our reservations team to discuss options," Mercer said.

"Unfortunately, with the high volume of traffic currently booked, any loss of crossings will result in delays for impacted customers. We are trying to minimize these delays, but capacity remains a challenge."

Rebooking headaches

For some passengers who had their trips cancelled, like Terri Gulbrandson and her family, securing another reservation has proven to be a headache.

Terri Gulbrandson
Terri Gulbrandson

The Nova Scotia family arrived in Newfoundland on Aug. 1 with their truck and a camper for their first visit to the island.

Gulbrandson, her husband, two children and her mother, were supposed to return to Nova Scotia on Saturday's ferry from Argentia.

"The news release that they put out made it seem like, oh, it's no problem to just drive to Port aux Basques, that's 12 hours away or nine hours away or something like that, and get a quick ferry across," she said.

"But when we called, we couldn't get booked in there until the 23rd of August."

Missing work

Gulbrandson and her husband are both due to return to their jobs, so extending their vacation would mean a loss of income and substantial additional costs to the family.

The family explored other options, including leaving with the truck and having the camper shipped at a later date, but that would have cost them around $600 more, said Gulbrandson.

In order for at least one of them to get back to work, Gulbrandson said, she will return to Nova Scotia with her mother and daughter on Monday. Her husband and son will return with the truck and camper on Aug. 22.

Gulbrandson said they were fortunately able to keep their campsite for the additional days, but they will incur costs for the extra stay.

She said before the ferry problems, the family had been thoroughly enjoying their visit to Newfoundland.

"Funnily enough, I did say I didn't want to come home because it was so beautiful," she said with a chuckle.

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