A ferry carrying some 200 passengers and crew caught fire and was intentionally grounded Friday morning during a voyage from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island in Canada.
Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Halifax said it recieved a distress call at 11:17 a.m. local time indicating the Northumberland Ferry Holiday Island was experiencing a fire in the engine room and subsequently ran aground.
A search and Rescue aircraft from 14 Wing Greenwood and Canadian Coast Guard vessels arrived on scene and safely disembarked 182 passengers. 18 crew and seven local firefighters remained on board to fight the fire. Crews were continuing to fight the fire as of mid-afternoon after earlier reports said it had been put out. No injuries have been reported.
A statement from Northumberland Ferries confirmed that the Holiday Island experienced an engine room fire and was intentionally grounded just after 11 a.m. during its scheduled 10 a.m. crossing from Caribou, Nova Scotia to Wood Island, PEI.
“Ship’s crew and safety systems contained the fire. Captain took necessary precautions and dropped both anchors and directed the ship onto a soft shoal outside the harbour entrance to Wood Islands. There are no reported injuries to customers or crew,” said Don Cormier, Vice President for Northumberland Ferries.
The incident comes after Northumberland Ferries on Thursday tweeted that the Holiday Island was experiencing unspecified technical issues that nearly cancelled two sailings from Caribou on Thursday.
“The MV Holiday Island is having technical issues which will result in the 10am departure from Caribou, N.S., and the 11:45am departure from Wood Islands P.E.I. being cancelled,” Northumberland Ferries wrote in the tweet early Thursday morning. However, an update post an hour later said the technical issues had been resolved and the ferry was running approximately one hour behind schedule. The update added that the vessel will “operate the remainder of the day on a load-and-go basis until back on schedule.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the incident on Twitter:
“I’m relieved to hear that all of the MV Holiday Island passengers have made it to land safely. I also want to thank the crews and first responders who acted so quickly and helped facilitate the evacuations – we’re grateful for your hard work,” he wrote.