Burnt ferry: Vehicles on board may not be salvageable

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Burnt ferry: vehicles on board may not be salvageable

Passengers on the Holiday Island ferry were evacuated following a fire on board, July 22, 2022.

Passengers evacuated after the fire on the Holiday Island ferry, which was plying between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on Friday morning, received a message from Northumberland Ferries advising them that their vehicles would not be able to -be not recoverable.

In a statement released early Saturday evening, Don Cormier, vice-president of Northumberland Ferries, confirmed that the fire was still burning inside the engine room and exhaust stacks of the MV Holiday Island, which connects Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

There are 83 vehicles on the ship's two car decks, the spokesperson said. All pets were safely evacuated with passengers and there were no livestock on board. We understand the impact this has on our customers. We are doing everything possible to try to recover these vehicles and their belongings as quickly as possible (…) It is still possible that, despite all efforts, we may not be able to recover the vehicles.

Fire aboard Holiday Island ferry between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, July 22, 2022.

The shipping company says it faces many challenges in order to compensate customers affected by this incident, “with a focus on returning them to their place of residence”, adding that there are no virtually no housing available on Prince Edward Island currently nor any rental vehicles.

According to Don Cormier, the Canadian Coast Guard spent the night near the vessel and continues to monitor the situation. A tug was dispatched yesterday afternoon and has been on standby since late last night, said Northumberland Ferries vice-president.

The Canadian Coast Guard continues to monitor the situation, Mr. Cormier said. The tug Svittzer Bedford, which has some firefighting capability, was able to apply some boundary cooling to the sides of the vessel and car decks. The Environmental Response Organization was able to deploy a boom around the vessel as a precaution.

The spokesperson says the company continues to work with affected customers to get them home as quickly as possible or to extend temporary accommodations.

“We don't know yet if we will be able to collect the vehicles and return them to their owners.

— Don Cormier, Vice President of Northumberland Ferries

One of the surviving passengers, John Kenny, says he was grateful no one was hurt, but felt bad for everyone who had no vehicle or luggage.

It is certain that many people will not have a very good weekend, he testified, noting that there were many young families on board. I mean, I have some medicine over there that I need by tomorrow.

Northumberland Ferries staff arranged bus transportation for passengers traveling from southeastern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on Saturday.

Regarding travelers who are coming from outside these areas, the carrier should contact them shortly for further action.

Northumberland Ferries has canceled all Saturday and Sunday crossings between Caribou and Wood Islands.

More than 200 people were on board Friday morning when the fire broke out in the ferry's engine room.

All passengers had been brought ashore by 1:15 p.m. , according to a tweet from the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax.

They were all evacuated using inflatable slides, and no injuries were reported.

People were brought to land by fishing boats, lifeboats and even a yacht, says John Kenny.

Passengers are evacuated from the ferry near the station in Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island, on the 22 July 2022.

People were allowed to have their pets, according to the passenger, adding that he saw a woman holding a cat and a birdcage with some parakeets .

Everyone was taken by school bus to the nearby tourist information center, where staff took people's names and offered them a place to sit, said John Kenny.

On Friday evening, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) announced that it would send a team of investigators to collect information and to evaluate the event.

With information from The Canadian Press and t of CBC

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