En­gine is­sue leads to Cat sea­son mod­i­fi­ca­tions

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC - BY TINA COMEAU

An en­gine prob­lem with The Cat ferry be­tween Nova Sco­tia and Maine will re­sult in fewer daily cross­ings this sum­mer.

A prob­lem with the ves­sel’s star­board outer main en­gine — one of The Cat’s four en­gines — oc­curred on June 28. The Cat has had to slow the ves­sel’s nor­mal op­er­at­ing speed from 33-35 knots to 28-30 knots, which makes the cross­ings an hour longer at six-and-a-half hours.

Be­cause the en­gine can­not be re­paired dur­ing the sea­son, on July 14 Bay Fer­ries an­nounced a mod­i­fi­ca­tion to its sail­ing sea­son. Un­der the new sched­ule The Cat will make five round trips per week un­til Labour Day — as op­posed to the orig­i­nally sched­uled six round trips per week in July and seven round trips per week in Au­gust.

The ves­sel will leave Yar­mouth at her nor­mal time at 8:30 a.m. Mon­day, Tues­day, Thurs­day and Fri­day, re­turn­ing from Port­land at 3 p.m. Port­land time (4 p.m. Yar­mouth time) on those days. On Satur­day morn­ings dur­ing July and Au­gust the ves­sel will make a one-way cross­ing to Port­land, leav­ing Yar­mouth at 8:30 a.m. On Sun­days, the ves­sel will make a one-way cross­ing from Port­land, leav­ing at 11 a.m. Port­land time (EST).

“The en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers are stand­ing be­hind their prod­uct and will ab­sorb all re­pair costs when re­pairs take place,” said Mark Mac­Don­ald, Chair­man and CEO of Bay Fer­ries Lim­ited in a me­dia re­lease. “We thank all tech­ni­cal per­son­nel who have worked around the clock to as­sess and re­spond to this prob­lem.”

Ac­cord­ing to Bay Fer­ries, since June 28 the ves­sel’s en­gine has been sub­jected to thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the en­gine man­u­fac­turer, MTU, and out­side re­pair con­trac­tors.

Head­ing to­wards the start of its May 31 sea­son Bay Fer­ries had said ad­vance book­ings were up for 2017.

On Fri­day, July 14, the City of Port­land re­leased pas­sen­ger num­bers. The to­tal num­ber of pas­sen­gers from May 31 to June 30 was 7,677 pas­sen­gers (com­pared to 3,616 pas­sen­gers dur­ing The Cat’s two-week June sched­uled in 2016). Of those to­tal pas­sen­gers, 4,579 de­parted from Port­land and 3,098 de­parted from Yar­mouth.

There were 3,034 ve­hi­cles, which in­cludes pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles, mo­tor­cy­cles and mo­torhomes. Six tour buses (four depart­ing Port­land, two depart­ing Yar­mouth) trav­eled on the ferry.

The 2017 June Cat num­bers falls in be­tween the sea­sons of the Nova Star, which car­ried 6,768 pas­sen­gers in 2014 and 8,530 pas­sen­gers in 2015.

Bay Fer­ries Lim­ited will also be pub­lish­ing “mod­est mod­i­fi­ca­tions” to its Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber sched­ule, which will soon ap­pear on the com­pany’s web­site, www.fer­ries.ca.

When The Cat had an­nounced its sched­ule at the start of the sea­son, the ferry was al­ready not trav­el­ing seven days a week in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber to cut down on ex­penses dur­ing non-peak travel times. Bay Fer­ries had also ex­tended it 2017 sea­son by two weeks.

Yar­mouth and Aca­dian Shores Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion (YASTA) is happy to see Bay Fer­ries is work­ing through its en­gine is­sue.

“We are happy that the ser­vice is con­tin­u­ing, although on a re­duced sched­ule. Yar­mouth & Aca­dian Shores Tourism is con­fi­dent that the team at Bay Fer­ries is do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to en­sure pas­sen­gers re­ceive a pos­i­tive on­board ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Neil MacKen­zie, YASTA gen­eral man­ager.

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