Staff, The Cape Breton Post
ENGLISHTOWN — The Englishtown ferry service will be out of service from Tuesday until Friday of next week, when one ferry replaces the other that is going into refit.
In this file photo taken in late 2011, vehicles drive off the Torquil MacLean ferry on the Englishtown side of St. Anns Bay. Cape Breton Post
At 9 a.m., Tuesday, the Torquil MacLean ferry will be prepared for towing to Pictou where it will undergo extensive upgrades and repairs. The Scotian ferry will replace the Torquil MacLean ferry Friday.
John Majchrowicz, manager of marine services for the province, expects the Torquil MacLean to be out of service for about 10 weeks.
"It's a basic refit that we need to do every four years because of Transport Canada laws," said Majchrowicz, adding that while it's in for refit, other adjustments will be made at the same time. Although just built in 2008, the ferry has had its share of problems. The refit was originally scheduled for last September but was delayed several times due to bad weather.
"There's been a problem with the hull," said Majchrowicz. "We have a bang in the front of it. It's been there for about three, four years. And so I've gotten our naval architects to come up with another design to slope the ship more on the front on both ends so we don't have a problem with hitting this slip."
The current is so strong at the slip that if you're coming in, it can bang the front of the vessel, leading to damage.
"So what I'm doing is cropping out both ends of the ship and angling it down and I'm putting more reinforcement on the bottom because the other problem that we have there is the current is so strong coming through the narrow gap, it's like going through the centre of an hour glass over there. It brings a lot of rock up onto the slip so the ship is constantly scraping on it. So I'm putting a stronger plating on the bottom at both ends so I'll not have to worry about this."
The engine will also be replaced.