Vehicles begin to be removed from MV Holiday Island; Ferry service canceled for Monday

Ferry service between PEI and Nova Scotia will be canceled for another day as Northumberland Ferries continues to deal with the aftermath of the MV Holiday Island fire.

The company notified customers via text message Sunday around noon that service will not resume Monday. It now aims to restart trips between Caribou, NS and Wood Islands, PEI with MV Confederation starting Tuesday morning.

Northumberland Ferries says the cancellation is due to “ongoing recovery and customer care efforts” related to the MV Holiday Island, which had to be evacuated two days ago due to a fire.

Tugboats successfully towed the vessel to a berth at Wood Islands Harbor on Sunday morning after the company’s plan to do so was approved by the Canadian Coast Guard on Saturday night.

Passenger vehicles removed from ship

The MV Holiday Island is shown on Sunday. The ship was towed to port in the early hours of the morning. (CBC/Tony Davis)

By Sunday afternoon, passenger vehicles could be seen leaving the ferry, although there was no word on their exact condition or the status of any belongings passengers left behind.

There were eighty-three vehicles on board. Northumberland Ferries said on Saturday that all the pets were rescued and that there were no livestock or dangerous cargo on board.

Cars now leaving the ferry. Some needed the help of a crane. Federal government update at 3 p.m.

— @TonyDavisCBC

More than 200 passengers and crew were evacuated from the ship on Friday as it headed for the Wood Islands, with no major injuries reported.

Some of the passengers were waiting at the Wood Islands port on Sunday to check their vehicles.

The company said in a statement that the fire, which started in the ship’s engine room, appears to have been extinguished since Saturday afternoon. But now there will be a process to verify if it is completely off the ship.

On Saturday, the company said it believed the fire was contained to the ship’s engine room and funnels.

Northumberland Ferries said it will also check the ship’s stability and structural integrity, remove water and also put environmental protection measures in place.

A protective barrier has been placed around the vessel in case of fuel or oil leaks.

Two tugboats towed the vessel, with a third acting as backup. (CBC/Tony Davis)

“We understand the importance of returning vehicles to our customers and this is a priority,” Vice President Don Cormier said in the statement. “But we ask customers not to return to the terminal until they are told to.

“We will continue to communicate separately and directly with our customers about all of the above.”

Two tugs secured the vessel to dock with a third for support. The plan started at 6 am and ended at 8:30 am.

Northumberland Ferries said it would give a further update on the resumption of the service on Monday.

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