Important milestone for the Fogo Island and Change Islands ferry service
FOGO ISLAND/CHANGE ISLANDS — Minister of Transportation and Works Nick McGrath was joined on Aug. 22 by residents of Fogo Island and Change Islands to celebrate the keel laying of the new $51 million ferry that will be delivered in September 2015.
© Submitted photo
A commemorative memento of the keel laying ceremony held Aug. 22.
“The laying of the keel marks a significant milestone toward the introduction of the new $51 million ferry that will service Fogo Island and Change Islands. There is a sense of excitement among residents as we look ahead to the arrival of the new, modern and capable ferry which will begin servicing the area in just over a year from now. This ferry supports our vision for safe, reliable and sustainable ferry service in rural areas of the province,” Minister McGrath said.
The new ferry will be an 80-metre ice-class vessel that has roll-on, roll-off capability and will accommodate up to 200 passengers and 60 vehicles. As a brand new vessel, the ferry will also provide a more reliable passenger experience and will have increased capacity for operating in challenging ice conditions.
Minister of Natural Resources and MHA for The Isles of Notre Dame Derrick Dalley said, “With the keel laying, we have now entered a vital phase in the construction of a new $51 million ferry for the residents of Fogo Island and Change Islands. The new vessel will be modern, customized, state-of-the-art and will ensure an enhanced experience for residents and passengers. The ferry’s arrival in September 2015 will be a momentous occasion for Fogo Island and Change Islands and we look forward to it with great anticipation.”
Laying the keel formally signifies the start of construction and is traditionally celebrated. A video of the August 20, 2014 keel laying event at Damen Shipyards in Romania, where the ferry is being built, was broadcast at the event on Fogo Island for all to view and enjoy. The video can be viewed on the Pilot website by following the link: http://video.lportepilot.ca/3749891450001/Keel-Laying-Marks-an-Important-Milestone-in-the-Construction-of-the-New-Fogo-Island-and-Change-Islands-Ferry
Fogo Island Mayor Andrew Shea said, “Fogo Islanders are delighted that the new ferry is under construction and will begin service in 2015 and this is an important and critical component of the Comprehensive Transportation Strategy that we have developed for Fogo Island. The new ferry will support our contemporary rural community, our growing economy and the business and leisure travel needs of our people. The new ferry will also support our blossoming tourist industry that welcomes people from the other three corners of the world.”
To support the new ferry, the Provincial Government has invested over four million dollars in wharf improvements which will ensure that Fogo Island and Change Islands will be well-equipped to receive the new ferry.
Change Islands Mayor Stephen Brinson said, “In 1968 the first vehicle arrived on Change islands via ferry. We have come a long way since then and Change Islands residents are looking forward to all the benefits this modern vessel will bring to our island. We are grateful to all those who have worked to make this happen.”