The drive from Labrador to the Maritimes is one that a lot of people from Labrador do frequently.
If you are going to Nova Scotia most people drive the Trans-Labrador Highway, take Route 389 to Baie Comeau, the ferry to Matane and then onwards.
In late December the ferry F.A Gauthier that usually serves the route ran into mechanical problems, and the ferry service between Baie Comeau and Matane was suspended.
To keep people moving flights were added, and for those who had to get their vehicles across, additional runs were added at the boat at St Simeon to Riviere du Loup further down the St. Lawrence.
Meanwhile the STQ, the Quebec agency that runs the province's ferries, have turned to this province for help. STQ has made an arrangement to acquire the Apollo on a temporary basis from Labrador Marine. The STQ says it cost just over $2,000,000 to acquire the vessel, which can transport 240 passengers and 80 vehicles. The Gauthier has a capacity of 800 passengers and 180 vehicles. The STQ site says the Apollo is adequate for this time of the year. Meanwhile the Gauthier has been sent to the shipyard in Levis for repairs.
For those who used the Apollo to make the run from Blanc Salon to St. Barbe, they may recognize the boat but not the name. The STQ says it plans to rename the vessel, but on its website did not say what the new name would be.
The Apollo is being replaced with the new vessel Qajaq W.
The STQ says it will use the Apollo for as long as necessary, and then decide what it will do with it.
It’s estimated it cost a million dollars to keep the temporary ferry and air service going during the breakdown of the Gauthier. The STQ says it is in the process of compensating people who were affected.