They aren’t up to the job

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After the endless disruptions this winter season, it’s time for Marine Atlantic to take a look at how suited its vessels are for the Gulf service.

The fairly new ships have been tied up many times this winter because of high winds that prevented them from safely entering or leaving port.

Often, just a prediction of inclement weather leads to a decision to halt travel.

True, this has been a exceptionally bad winter, but these ships were carefully chosen for their ability to move traffic and passengers comfortably and efficiently across the Cabot Strait.

They were built for use in the Baltic — not specifically built for the task they have now — and that may be part of the problem.

Getting the ferries that way did hasten replacement of the old craft that had outlived their usefulness but these ships don’t appear to be up to the job.

Weather conditions in this part of the world seem to be too severe for them to cope and keep moving people and goods.

It’s just not acceptable to have the major water link with the mainland held hostage by weather this often. These gales and severe ice conditions aren’t going to disappear.

Many of the goods that arrive in this province use Marine Atlantic’s service and having tractor trailers full of food sitting in North Sydney is of no use to residents in this province who are faced with partly empty shelves when they pick up their weekly groceries.

These ships have gotten plenty of praise for their comfort and amenities during the summer months ... but they can’t just stop running when autumn rolls around and nasty weather descends on this part of the North Atlantic.

It’s obviously time to institute a long-term replacement plan that includes building purpose-built ships in this country.

Not only will we get ferries more suited to their vital task, the project will create thousands of jobs all across this country.

It’s all too obvious now — that’s what should have been done the last time.

Organizations: Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: North Sydney

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