Traverse Matane–North Shore: Saaremaa is not back

Traverse Matane–Côte-Nord: le Saaremaa n’est pas de retour

The Saaremaa, which was expected to return to Matane on 20 January, is still at the port of Trois-Rivières.

20 January 2020 21h48

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Traverse Matane–North Shore: Saaremaa is not back

Traverse Matane–Côte-Nord: le Saaremaa n’est pas de retour

Johanne Fournier

Special Collaboration

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MATANE — The NM Saaremaa I, who had to be back to Matane on Monday to resume its ferry service between Matane, Baie-Comeau and Godbout, will remain anchored at the port of Trois-Rivières until notice to the contrary. The Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) provides, however, that the Saaremaa, which replaces the F.-A.-Gauthier, who is once again inoperative due to new problems, is ready to return at any time in Matane.

It is the Vacationer who replaces him since the beginning of the month. The STQ has taken the decision to extend the service contract with the Cooperative of maritime and air transport (CTMA) since his ship, the Traveller, is not yet required to Cap-aux-Meules to take the place of the Madeleine. “The Madeleine operates less well in the ice that the Vacationer, specifies the communication advisor of the STQ, Audrey Cloutier. But, as the condition of the ice permits the Madeleine continue for a few more days its crossings, it allows us to retain the Holiday in Matane.”

The work of updates to the standards of protection and fight against fire, as required by Transport Canada, are completed on Saaremaa. “We decided to pursue some work which had been planned for a technical shutdown later,” says a spokesperson for the Crown corporation. It is ahead.”

Audrey Cloutier borst the fact that the STQ retains the Vacationer instead of returning the Saaremaa because the first is much more skillful in navigating the ice than the second, which is a ferry with open deck.

First tests

In addition, the NM F.-A.-Gauthier is out on Monday afternoon for its first sea trials. “These are preliminary tests to be able to know how the ship reacts to the result of the work,” said Ms. Cloutier. There may be also in the next few days. It’s going to depend on how the vessel responds. This is a first step. It is crucial. We’ll see after.” The communication advisor had not wished to proceed further on the situation. “I won’t comment on the sea trials”, she stated.

Remember that new problems have appeared on the F.-A.-Gauthier in December, after he had left the dry dock of the shipyard Davie, where he remained for a year in order to remove and replace its thrusters azimutaux. It is during the travel between Lévis and Matane that a fault has been detected with the electric motors. Since then, european experts from the company General Electric are working to identify what is wrong and to fix it, while the ferry, purchased at a cost of $ 170 million in 2015, is moored at her home port of Matane.

The STQ will maintain air links between the airports in Matane, Baie-Comeau and Sept-Îles as long as the F.-A.-Gauthier will not return to service.

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