“Once we looked at the capacity issue, the decision was made to take the MV Atlantic Vision off the Argentia run for the Monday (Aug. 20) crossing out of North Sydney and the Tuesday (Aug. 21) crossing from Argentia,” said Marine Atlantic spokesperson Darrell Mercer. “By moving that vessel to the Port aux Basques/North Sydney crossing, we’d be able to move 2,000 extra vehicles during the same time frame.”
Mercer said as a result Marine Atlantic is making significant progress in addressing some of the capacity issues on the Gulf service.
It is expected the Atlantic Vision will be back in service on the Argentia run leaving North Sydney on Wednesday (Aug. 22) and Argentia on Thursday (Aug. 24).
The MV Highlanders is tied up in North Sydney undergoing repairs to its generator. She is expected back in service on the Port aux Basques/North Sydney run later this week.
“This certainly was one of our more challenging weekends,” he said. “We had significant amounts of traffic and the weather delay compounded the issue for us. There was about eight hours we lost just from two vessels waiting outside Port aux Basques trying to dock.”
Passengers impacted by the Argentia/North Sydney cancellations had the option of being rebooked through Port aux Basques free of charge and receiving a full refund for the Argentia crossing. The second option was to wait for the next Argentia crossing and receive travel vouchers of $200 per adult and $100 per child between five and 12 years of age for future use on Marine Atlantic.
There were approximately 400 vehicles impacted between the cancelled North Sydney and Argentia crossings.
“It was a difficult decision because we knew the inconvenience that it would cause our customers. But, when we looked at the situation, the decision was made that it was the best course of action for these couple of days,” he said. “We recognize it was a difficult weekend for our customers and we offer our sincere apologies. We are working around the clock to ensure there is as little disruption to their travel plans as possible.”
Mercer said the service experienced some improvements on Monday.
“We are moving the traffic, delays are coming down significantly for our customers. Some are going earlier than their booking times and others are having delays of two to six hours,” he said. “Ultimately, we are working diligently to try and move our customers to an alternate sailing time as close as possible to their original booking time.”
There are limited numbers of spaces open in the reservations system beginning on Thursday for booking.
“We are catching up on our capacity and we are hoping once the Highlanders return to service things will return to normal,” he said.
Cape Breton Post