NORTH SYDNEY — The Canadian Coast Guard has sent its largest icebreaker to rescue a passenger ferry that can’t enter Sydney Harbour due to high winds and chunks of ice.
About 170 passengers spent Tuesday night aboard the MV Caribou, but a spokeswoman for Marine Atlantic said they were in good spirits.
The Louis S. St-Laurent was expected to arrive in Cape Breton at about 7 p.m. Wednesday to clear a path for the stranded ferry. The MV Caribou bobbed about three kilometres off shore earlier that day, as it sailed back and forth waiting for the winds to shift or the coast guard to show up.
The ferry arrived off North Sydney at about 1 p.m. Tuesday. The captain soon realized the boat could not push through the ice that had built up around the harbour, spokeswoman Tara Laing said.
“What’s happened is you had a 30-mile radius of ice, (but) because of the wind and (its) direction that’s compacted it into 10 miles,” she said. “It’s all pieces of ice, and they’re on top of each other, so that increases the pressure.”
If the MV Caribou were to try to power through the ice, it would likely get stuck, she said.
The MV Leif Ericson, meanwhile, managed to dock Wednesday morning and unload its cargo. Its passengers made it ashore Monday, but the ferry could not manoeuvre up to the wharf equipped for unloading vehicles.
MV Caribou Vessel Specifications :
Lloyd’s: 100A1Ice Class: Northern Baltic 1A Super
Main engines: 4 MAK, 8-cylBHP (horsepower) 7,000 each
Auxiliary: 3 MAK, 2,400 hp
Propellers: Twin Ka Me Wa
Thrusters: Twin bow KaMeWa,
Twin Aft KaMeWa
Economical speed: 15 knots
Maximum speed: 22 knots
Length oa – 179m
Length bp – 165 m
Breadth – 25 m
Loaded Draft – 6.6m
© 2008 The Halifax Herald Limited