Canadian ferry needs dry-dock repairs after grounding, hitting dock

A New Brunswick ferry was heavily damaged when it lost propulsion control, ran aground and struck its wharf.

Grand Manan V was out of service for over a month as a result of the accident while landing at Blacks Harbour on May 18. It had damage to hull plating and internal framing.

The provincial ferry Grand Manan V is aground along its terminal wharf at Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick.

The 64-vehicle, 230-foot ferry with 100 passengers and 18 crew aboard was approaching the Blacks Harbour terminal when it experienced a mechanical malfunction, rode up on a shoal and collided with the dock.

Sarah Ketcheson, spokeswoman for the New Brunswick Transportation Department, said the vessel had experienced a loss of propulsion control as the crew was docking the vessel, but the actual malfunction remains a mystery.

"We have had technicians from the company that produced the controls attempt to replicate the issue and they could not," she said. "We evaluated it and Transport Canada evaluated it, but it was a mechanical issue that we could not replicate."

Gregg Ryder, director of finance with ferry operator Coastal Transport Ltd., told Professional Mariner that the company is conducting its own internal investigation. Ryder declined to provide any additional information regarding the grounding.

Grand Manan V was built in the Netherlands in 1990 by Bodewes Scheepswerf Volharding. It's a twin-screw vessel powered by two diesel engines with 2,370 bhp. The ferry has a top speed of 14.5 knots.

Transport Canada deemed the vessel safe to travel to dry dock, Ketcheson said. The ship entered Groupe Maritime Verreault shipyard at Les Méchins, Quebec, on May 24. It left the shipyard June 18 and returned to service June 21.

"Crews at the Groupe Maritime Verreault shipyard will repair damage to the hull plates and structural members," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams in a statement in May. The original return-to-service date of June 11 was moved back a week after additional damage to the starboard-side hull plate and internal frame was discovered after the vessel was placed in dry dock.

After an inspection by Transport Canada, the moth-balled smaller ferry Grand Manan was brought back into service until repairs were completed on Grand Manan V.

Ketcheson said the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and ferry users were "eagerly awaiting" delivery in late June of a new ferry, Grand Manan Adventure, for the route. That vessel was nearing completion by Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Fla.

By Professional Mariner Staff