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Ferry trapped in ice off of Cape Breton freed

Ferry trapped in ice off of Cape Breton finally freed

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 11:22 AM - A ferry that had been trapped in the ice off of Cape Breton was finally freed Tuesday night.

The Marine Atlantic-operated MV Highlanders became trapped Tuesday morning about 300 m from open water after departing North Sydney, N.S., with more than 200 people aboard along with dozens of vehicles. 

Marine Atlantic contacted the Canadian Coast Guard and dispatched the ferry MV Blue Puttees from Port-aux-Basque, Nfld., to see if it could clear a path through the ice for the MV Highlanders. Though the Blue Puttees did not become trapped itself, Marine Atlantic spokesman Darrell Mercer told CBC it did briefly have to shut down its engines due to ice clog.

Nevertheless, the Blue Puttees persisted, and managed to free Highlanders Tuesday night. 

Mercer pointed to recent strong winds that had pushed up melting sea ice against the coast, a problem also experienced in Newfoundland, which saw marine wildlife trapped against the shore.

"The ice conditions around Cape Breton, we weren't anticipating that there was going to be much of an impact," he told CBC News. "But unfortunately, the wind conditions over the past day or so has increased the pressure around the land on Cape Breton."


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