Fogo’s brand new ferry broken down

Travellers facing long lineups and delays

Christy Janes christy.janes@pilotnl.ca
Published on December 30, 2015
File photo

Brandon Hancock has been waiting in a lineup for the last 24 hours to catch a ferry from Fogo Island to the mainland of Newfoundland.

He’s stuck in a lineup because the brand new ferry — the M.V. Veteran — that was introduced to Fogo Island with great fanfare just last week, has broken down.

Yesterday, the crew on board the vessel discovered bow thruster issues and contacted the transportation department to report the problem. The vessel was tied up at the wharf due to high winds.

A spokesperson with the Department of Transportation and Works told The Pilot in a telephone interview this morning that crews are enroute to Fogo Island to address the mechanical issues the Veteran.

The M.V. Galatea is currently making runs to and from Fogo Island and Change Islands, but has a much smaller capacity than the Veteran.

Brandon Hancock has been stuck in the lineup for nearly 24 hours attempting to get off Fogo Island.

Hancock was home on holidays from Memorial University and told The Pilot he is one of about 80 cars waiting to get across to Farewell.

“The ferry didn't go at all yesterday and the last two runs were cancelled due to wind on Monday so the amount of traffic backed up is ridiculous. The ferry they sent for this mornings run barely made a dent in the traffic,” he said.

Hancock noted the wind was a different matter as it’s something that can’t be prevented, but he feels the Department of Transportation and Works should have something more accommodating than the Galatea.

“Transportation and Works should have something more accommodating than what they do, considering that a 20-car ferry has to do two islands when there's about 80 cars waiting on one island alone,” he said.

Hancock has been in the lineup since 3 p.m. yesterday and as of 9:30 a.m. this morning he didn’t hold out much hope he would get on the second crossing.

It's ridiculous,” he said. “I personally don't have a time frame to get off the island but if someone wanted to get off the island Monday evening for work on Tuesday then they're still stuck here two days later.”

A media relations spokesperson for the department said, “We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing and if the Veteran is out for a period of time we will bring the M.V. Winsor back to run.”

Hancock is not impressed.

“It’s sad that a boat built in 1968 that had a million bucks spent on it to fix it up has to come do a ferry run that can't be done by a $51 million dollar boat built this year,” he said.