CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI — Ferry workers who were on board the MV Holiday Island when a fire broke out in the engine room this summer will have the opportunity to say goodbye to the ship.

Northumberland Ferries Ltd. (NFL) announced earlier this month that Transport Canada, which owns the ferry, has declared the vessel beyond repair and will be scrapped.

“This ship has been around for over 50 years (as a PEI ferry) so ultimately we’re just going to have a private event for our employees, especially the crew. who was on board that day. from the fire,” Mark Wilson, senior vice president of Northumberland Ferries Ltd., told SaltWire Network Oct. 24.

No date has been set for the farewells.

The company had also considered inviting the public aboard to say goodbye, but decided against it due to damage to the ship in the fire.

The ferry’s last crossing ended in a fire and the evacuation of all passengers and crew on July 22, 2022. It has since been docked at the Wood Islands terminal.

Transport Canada is now soliciting a request for proposals to get rid of the ferry.

“It wasn’t the premises I would have thought of for the Holiday Island retreat,” Wilson said.

“There are so many Islanders and people from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick who have worked on this ship. “There is a strong attachment. It was difficult for some members of the NFL team to see this happen to the ship. There is a deep sense of sadness.”

The MV Holiday Island, pictured here crossing the Northumberland Strait between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, has been declared beyond repair and will be scrapped.  Transport Canada issued a request for proposals.  The successful bidder will be required to remove the vessel from its berth at Wood Islands by November 30.  - Contributed
The MV Holiday Island, pictured here crossing the Northumberland Strait between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, has been declared beyond repair and will be scrapped. Transport Canada issued a request for proposals. The successful bidder will be required to remove the vessel from its berth at Wood Islands by November 30. – Contributed

In an email to SaltWire Network on Oct. 21, Hicham Ayoun, senior communications adviser at Transport Canada, said the successful bidder will have until Nov. 30 to remove the vessel from its berth at Wood Islands.

Until then, Northumberland Ferries Ltd. accepts all inquiries from groups such as the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation who may be interested in specific memorabilia on the ship.

Wilson said the company is working with Transport Canada to remove items such as the ship’s bell, wheel and plates.

“I’m happy for them to contact us if there are any organizations that may have a sentimental attachment to certain things.”

Once the successful contractor takes the Holiday Island, he becomes the owner of everything on board.

“Under this type of contract, all salvageable material becomes the property of the contractor who can choose to recycle or sell any item to a third party at their discretion,” Ayoun added.

The MV Holiday Island is pictured at the Wood Islands ferry terminal after a fire broke out in the engine room, center, this summer.  -Alison Jenkins/The Guardian
The MV Holiday Island is pictured at the Wood Islands ferry terminal after a fire broke out in the engine room, center, this summer. -Alison Jenkins/The Guardian

look ahead

Wilson said Northumberland Ferries Ltd. remains committed to operating the PEI-Nova Scotia crossing as a two-ship service.

In August, she obtained the MV Saaremaa 1 on loan from a company in Trois-Rivières, Quebec.

Wilson can’t say for sure that the Saaremaa 1 will be back.

“It’s an option we’re negotiating right now, so it’s one of many options,” Wilson said. “We at the NFL and the Transport Canada team recognize the importance of two-ship service, especially during peak periods, late June through Thanksgiving weekend. I have strong indications that we can get a second ship for next year.

Transport Canada is to replace the Holiday Island with a new vessel in 2027.

This leaves Northumberland Ferries Ltd. a five-year window to maintain a two-ferry service.

“We are working closely with Transport Canada,” Wilson said. “I would go so far as to say that we are playing a leading role in reviewing short and medium term options until a new ship is built.”


Did you know?

Here is the story of the MV Holiday Island:

  • Construction was completed in April 1971.
  • Joined the Borden-Carleton, PEI ferry service to Cape Tormentine, NB in ​​June 1971.
  • Belonged to the federal government from 1971 to 1979, to CN Marine from 1979 to 1987 and to Marine Atlantic from 1987 to 1997 on the crossing between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
  • When the Confederation Bridge opened in June 1997, Transport Canada purchased the vessel for use on the crossing from Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island to Pictou, Nova Scotia. Scotland.
  • A fire broke out in the engine room on July 22, 2022. Transport Canada announced in October that the vessel was beyond repair and would be scrapped.

Dave Stewart is a reporter for the SaltWire Network in Prince Edward Island. He can be contacted by email at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @DveStewart.