Debbie Anderson was in a bit of a bind Friday morning. The Vancouver, B.C. woman was, like thousands of others, trying to get through to Marine Atlantic to check her reservations.
“I have been on the phone consistently since they opened this morning,” she said. “You press one for reservations and the line just goes dead.”
Anderson was in Newfoundland for a business trip. She was trying to get out around Corner Brook for a bit of down time before her scheduled Sunday morning crossing, but was instead glued to her phone and computer.
“I’ve got a flight to catch on Monday,” she said. “Today’s the cutoff to cancel, otherwise we’re going to be charged for it.”
Marine Atlantic Spokesperson Darrell Mercer said the reservation line is getting an unusually high number of calls since the incident with the MV Blue Puttees on Wednesday.
He said yesterday’s decision to take the MV Atlantic Vision off the Argentia run and move it to the Port aux Basques run has only increased the phone calls.
“We estimate there are approximately 5,000 customers impacted on our Argentia service, and a lot of those people are trying to make contact on our 1-800 line,” said Mercer.
He said passengers with upcoming bookings will be contacted by Marine Atlantic before their crossing through the customer contact system.
He said it’s too early to say how crossings in the coming weeks will be impacted, but those customers will also be contacted as the new schedule is finalized.
By 1 p.m., Anderson was successful in getting through to Marine Atlantic and getting peace of mind.
“They have advised that sailings should be okay but to call again tomorrow evening to double check,” said Anderson.
She was also assured that she would be contacted if the sailing times changed at all.
Mercer said the Blue Puttees departed Port aux Basques for North Sydney last night.
The ship will be put into drydock so repairs can be made to the bulbous bow. Marine Atlantic is estimating that the ship will be out until the end of August.
The investigation into what caused the Puttees to run aground and strike a wharf in Port aux Basques on Wednesday is still ongoing.
Mercer said Marine Atlantic is cooperating with investigators from the Transportation Safety Board. Marine Atlantic’s investigation so far has not found any signs of mechanical malfunction.