CARLETON – the harsh winter has also hit the navigation serving the Îles-de-la-Madeleine since Monday night, when the Cooperative of maritime and air transport has been forced to redirect its ferry CTMA Vacancier for North Sydney, in Nova Scotia, because of the extreme conditions of ice.
Normally, in the winter, the CTMA Vacancier links Cap-aux-Meules, Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Mouse, Île-du-Prince-Édouard. He left at 8am Monday and was expected to arrive in Mice between 24 and 30 hours later, in the course of the day Tuesday.
Escorted by the Louis S. St-Laurent, the most powerful icebreaker of the canadian coast Guard, the crew of the CTMA Voyageur was informed in the evening of Monday, that it was recommended to redirect the ferry to North Sydney, Cape Breton.
“The ice conditions are extreme in the area of the Mouse. We had the icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent that we was escorting and it is under the directive (of the crew) of the ice-breaker that we changed our plans,” says Claudia Delaney, a spokesman for the CTMA.
The detour for the passengers on board and those who were to embark with Mouse to go to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine is considerable. The distance between North Sydney and south-eastern New Brunswick, where one arrives from l’île-du-Prince-Édouard, approach 600 kilometers. Those who had already gone to Mouse on Monday to take the ferry the next day had to add 225 miles of more to get back on its feet and make it to North Sydney.
Ice add several hours to the journey time maritime is currently in the atlantic provinces.
One more day at sea
Thus, the CTMA Vacancier was to take thirty hours of Monday to Tuesday, between Cap-aux-Meules and Souris. His “diversion” to North Sydney, adds an extra day at sea in the current conditions.
“It should arrive tomorrow (Wednesday) at the beginning of the afternoon,” stated Claudia Delaney Tuesday morning.
Without ice, the CTMA Vacancier, or the Madeleine from may to January, travel the distance between Cap-aux-Meules and Souris in far less time.
“It is a crossing that takes five hours in the summer, in clear water. But in the winter it is different, when there is ice. We alert our passengers that it becomes a winter cruise,” says Ms. Delaney.
The CTMA Vacancier is equipped with nearly 200 cabins and can consequently adapt to these long routes, given that it is assigned was to link Montreal-Cap-aux-Meules.
In 2015, the ice had also forced the crew of the CTMA Vacationer direct to Sydney because the Mouse port was congested.
The setbacks experienced by the Islanders is significantly less challenging that the disappointments experienced since the 17 December by the users of the triangle Matane-Baie-Comeau–Godbout, in the estuary of the St. Lawrence river.
The delays of supply of the first necessities in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine have also had an impact on the service Matane North Shore, as another ship of the CTMA, CTMA Voyageur, which dépannait the Société des traversiers du Québec from the south shore to Baie-Comeau and Godbout in the last few days, was seized on Monday evening in order to supply the archipelago, its primary mission.
Since the major problems striking the F. A.-Gauthier between Matane and the North Shore, three ships, the CTMA Vacancier, have taken over to try to ensure this essential service, with the constraints and degrees of success variables.
For the moment, the Société des traversiers du Québec is attempting as soon as possible to put back into service, the replacement vessel purchased in January, the Apollo, which has been damaged due to an impact with the dock Godbout on February 25.