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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — After a rocky summer season for the Wooden Islands-Caribou ferry service, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced the federal authorities intends to buy a Norwegian ferry to be able to guarantee two vessels function throughout the crossing subsequent summer season.
Talking alongside all 4 P.E.I. members of parliament in addition to a number of of his cupboard colleagues, Trudeau introduced plans to buy the MV Fanafjord ferry.
“It is excessive time a brand new vessel got here on-line. This new vessel, the MV Fanafjord, will assist Northumberland Ferries safely and effectively serve the economies and communities right here on the East Coast,” Trudeau mentioned.
PM Trudeau saying the federal buy of a brand new ferry for the NS-PEI crossing. pic.twitter.com/QQmwobQgkD
— Stuart Neatby (@stu_neatby) August 23, 2023
The price of buying the brand new vessel was not revealed throughout the press convention. Transportation Minister Pablo Rodriguez additionally mentioned the acquisition just isn’t finalized and will not be for one more 15 days.
“There’s 15 days for consumers to point out up in the event that they need to provide one thing. However we all know that that is the one which’s there for us,” Rodriguez mentioned.
Rodriguez mentioned the vessel would arrive in Might 2024.
Based on the web site of LMG Marin, the agency that designed the vessel, the MV Fanafjord was constructed in 2007 and has two automotive decks. It could maintain 212 vehicles and roughly 590 passengers.
The MV Vacation Island, one among two vessels serving the Nova Scotia-P.E.I. crossing, caught hearth mid-crossing final summer season, simply after departing from Wooden Islands. Passengers have been evacuated with out damage however the vessel has since been scrapped.
For 3 weeks earlier this summer season, the ferry service was halted solely after the MV Confederation, the opposite devoted ferry, broke down on account of repeated mechanical points. A vessel on mortgage from Quebec, the MV Saarimaa, didn’t arrive on P.E.I. till early July.
A alternative vessel is below building within the Davie shipyard in Quebec however just isn’t anticipated to be accomplished earlier than 2028.
Talking alongside the prime minister, Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay mentioned the acquisition of the ferry demonstrated Trudeau’s authorities is listening to the issues of rural Canada.
“My entire profession, I’ve at all times mentioned how very important the 2 vessel service was for Wooden Islands-Caribou. And for a part of this spring, we had no vessel for a few weeks. That’s devastating to the tourism business and to the entire trucking business throughout Prince Edward Island.”
In an e-mail assertion, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King thanked MacAulay for his “advocacy and dedication” to the Wooden Islands ferry.
“Whereas this may assist stabilize the service, our authorities will proceed to work with the Authorities of Canada and Minister MacAulay to make sure a brand new ferry continues to be a precedence to make sure that this very important service continues to assist the economic system and tourism in Japanese P.E.I. for a few years to come back,” King mentioned.
Darlene Compton, the Speaker of P.E.I.’s legislature and MLA for Belfast-Murray River, additionally welcomed the information however mentioned an answer for the ferry crossing may have come earlier.
“I want that it hadn’t taken years for good concepts like this to take root however I’m glad that they lastly have. Actually, this very vessel may have been bought as early as 2016 so a variety of nervousness and financial hardship may have been prevented had the federal authorities acted with better urgency sooner,” Compton mentioned.
“Hopefully immediately’s announcement will assist deliver extra stability to the Wooden Islands ferry service in the end.”
Stu Neatby is a political reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He might be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on X @stu_neatby.