Com­mer­cial traf­fic backed up

Back-to-back weather sys­tems cre­ate ferry ser­vice de­lays

Cape Breton Post - - NORTHSIDE/CAPE BRETON - BY JULIE COLLINS jcollins@cb­post.com

A weather system for the record books has caused ex­ten­sive de­lays for Marine At­lantic fer­ries from both North Syd­ney and Port aux Basques.

“Fe­bru­ary has been a dif­fi­cult month, the weather sys­tems have been on­go­ing,” said Marine At­lantic spokesman Darrell Mercer. “With the lat­est weather system we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced this week, we lost both sailings on Mon­day and the morn­ing sailing on Tues­day.”

Weather de­pend­ing, Marine At­lantic loaded ves­sels in both North Syd­ney and Port aux Basques for the 11:45 p.m. cross­ing Tues­day.

“While we were sev­eral hours later, it’s not very of­ten that the same storm system stretches from New Brunswick through to New­found­land shut­ting ev­ery­one down at the same time — schools, gov­ern­ment of­fices, ev­ery­thing was shut down.”

“The thing about the win­ter sea­son is that it changes from year to year. Last year we had a lot of weather sys­tems and wind that set us back be­tween Oc­to­ber to De­cem­ber… This year Oc­to­ber to De­cem­ber were good and right now we don’t have any im­pacts from ice mov­ing in to the Cabot Strait but win­ter storms are set­ting us back.” Darrell Mercer, Marine At­lantic spokesman

Mercer said the present back­log in both North Syd­ney and Port aux Basques is made up pri­mar­ily of com­mer­cial traf­fic.

“Just when we get some of the back­log cleared, we get hit with an­other weather system,” he said. “For us, traf­fic pat­terns vary de­pend­ing on the storm sys­tems, and the day of the week. We are mov­ing the traf­fic as best we can in try­ing to clear some of those back­logs, but we could sure use a break from Mother Na­ture to help this along.”

He said a snow system with lit­tle or no wind doesn’t usu­ally cause any is­sues.

“It’s when the snow com­bines with high, howl­ing winds that whip up the seas, that’s what causes is­sues re­sult­ing in de­lays.”

At present the MV Blue Put­tees and MV High­landers are han­dling traf­fic from both ports.

“If we could get a few days of good weather, those ves­sels can take up­wards of 100 com­mer­cial units per cross­ing and we’d clear the back­log fairly quickly but we need a break in th­ese weather sys­tems to give us a chance to catch up.”

Re­fer­ring to win­ter travel in Canada, Mercer said whether you are fly­ing, trav­el­ling by car or ferry, weather sys­tems can quickly im­pact travel plans.

“The thing about the win­ter sea­son is that it changes from year to year. Last year we had a lot of weather sys­tems and wind that set us back be­tween Oc­to­ber to De­cem­ber,” Mercer said. “This year Oc­to­ber to De­cem­ber were good and right now we don’t have any im­pacts from ice mov­ing in to the Cabot Strait but win­ter storms are set­ting us back.”

For Marine At­lantic, safety is the main guid­ing prin­ci­ple to en­sure that peo­ple don’t make de­ci­sions where they are go­ing to put them­selves in danger.

“From our per­spec­tive, we want to en­sure that all de­ci­sions are based upon the safety of our cus­tomers and em­ploy­ees and that ev­ery­body has a safe cross­ing.”

Visit https://www.marineat­lantic.ca/en/ or call 1-800-3417981 for up-to-date in­for­ma­tion on ferry cross­ings.

JULIE COLLINS/CAPE BRE­TON POST

In this file photo, Marine At­lantic’s MV Put­tees and MV High­landers are shown docked in North Syd­ney.

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