Bay Ferries’ website says the Fundy Rose ferry is expected to be back on its Digby-to-Saint John run the week of Nov. 25.
On Monday, Nov. 18 the website showed Wednesday, Nov. 27 as the date for the resumption of service, but Bay Ferries does caution that could be a moving target.
“Until the ship leaves the dock, nothing is firm, and even then the ship must transit back to the service safely,” says Bay Ferries president Mark MacDonald. The Fundy Rose has been off the run and in drydock since mid-October.
SEE THE FUNDY ROSE SCHEDULE HERE
Originally, Bay Ferries’ schedule had stated the ship would be undergoing a period of planned maintenance and be out of service for approximately four weeks from Oct. 15 through to Nov. 15. But on Nov. 8 an update was posted to the website pushing the resumption of service further back into the month.
“We (had) anticipated approximately 30 days (for the work) including transits, subject to overall weather conditions and work arising in the program – for example, if certain machinery, parts or equipment requires additional work, which often cannot be done at the shipyard itself,” MacDonald says. “Weather conditions were challenging when the Fundy Rose first arrived at the shipyard and have remained challenging during most of the work.”
Some people have questioned why Bay Ferries could not have put The Cat ferry on the route while the Fundy Rose was not available. The Cat ferry did not sail this year due to ongoing construction at the terminal facility in Bar Harbor.
However, the docking systems in Digby and Saint John are not built to accommodate the configuration of The Cat.
“That is part of the issue,” says MacDonald. “But the Cat is also a foreign flag vessel which has not been imported for use in Canada.”
This is the first time in recent years that the Fundy Rose has gone into dry-dock at this time of the year. Usually any scheduled maintenance happens in the January/February/March time frame.
“There are many issues which go into dry-docking scheduling, including yard availability, and many factors, such as weather and unanticipated work arising, which can impact completion,” MacDonald says.
He says the company did consult the seafood and trucking industries prior to the suspension of the service.
Updates on the resumption of service will be posted on Bay Ferries’ website.