Marine Atlantic

From Academic Kids

Marine Atlantic logo or herald

Marine Atlantic Inc. (fr: Marine Atlantique) is an independent Canadian Crown corporation offering ferry services between the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

Marine Atlantic was established in 1986 to take over the provision of ferry services in Atlantic Canada which had previously been operated by CN Marine, a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway.

Marine Atlantic's corporate headquarters are in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Marine Atlantic ferry ports

Current routes

Currently, Marine Atlantic operates ferries between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland route year-round (96 nautical miles). This route is mandated under Newfoundland's "Terms of Union" in the Constitution of Canada. This route was assumed by Canadian National Railway in 1949 from the Newfoundland Railway, upon Newfoundland's entry into Confederation.

Marine Atlantic also operates a seasonal service on a route between North Sydney and Argentia, Newfoundland (280 nautical miles).

Current vessels

Marine Atlantic owns and operates 3 Ro-Pax (roll-on, roll-off, passenger) vessels and 1 vessel dedicated for tractor trailer/cargo traffic.

Gulfspan vessels

The Caribou and the Joseph and Clara Smallwood are the largest icebreaking passenger ferries in the world, and the largest ferry vessels operating in Canada. Classed "100A1" by Lloyd's with an ice classification of "Northern Baltic 1A Super," these vessels have similar dimensions as medium-sized cruise ships. They are based on a unique Canadian hull-design called Gulfspan, which permits the ships to slice through sea ice rather than riding up onto and crushing it as conventional icebreakers do. Their dimensions are 27,000 registered tons and 179 metres long, carrying 1,200 passengers, 100 crew, and 370 automobile-equivalent vehicles.

Other vessels

Leif Ericson is the company's third passenger ferry, having been purchased in 2001. Significantly smaller and a less-capable icebreaker than the Gulfspan vessels, this ferry's dimensions are 4,600 registered tons and 157 metres long, carrying 500 passengers, and 250 automobile-equivalent vehicles. Atlantic Freighter is the company's dedicated freight and cargo vessel.


Extensive budget cuts throughout the Government of Canada during the latter part of the 1990s led to a drastic downsizing of Marine Atlantic's operations.

In 1997 the Confederation Bridge replaced Marine Atlantic's constitutionally-mandated ferry service to Prince Edward Island.

That same year saw the operation of the Saint John-Digby and Yarmouth-Bar Harbor services transferred to the private sector company Bay Ferries Limited, a subsidiary of Northumberland Ferries Limited.

Marine Atlantic also removed itself from the provision of coastal ferry services in Newfoundland and Labrador with the transfer of operations to the provincial government at the end of the 1997 season, in exchange for federal funding to extend regional roads (such as the Trans-Labrador Highway) to service coastal communities. These coastal ferry services had been initiated by the Newfoundland Railway and were assumed by Canadian National Railways, following the province's entry into Confederation in 1949, although they were not constitutionally mandated.

In 1998, the company moved its headquarters from Moncton, New Brunswick to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, after briefly considering North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador.

In late 2004 the federal government announced the appointment of a three-member committee tasked with examining future operations of Marine Atlantic. One of the options being considered is reportedly privatization.

Former routes

From its inception in 1986 until 1997, Marine Atlantic operated the following routes:

Former vessels

Cabot Strait

  • MV Marine Evangeline
  • MV Ambrose Shea

Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy

  • MV Bluenose
  • MV Princess of Acadia

Labrador Coast

  • MV Sir Robert Bond
  • MV Northern Ranger

Newfoundland South Coast

  • MV Marine Runner
  • MV Marine Courier
  • MV Taverner
  • MV Petite Forte

Northumberland Strait

  • MV Abegweit
  • MV John Hamilton Gray
  • MV Vacationland
  • MV Holiday Island

For further information on ferries which operated on Northumberland Strait prior to Marine Atlantic's service (1986-1997), consult the entry on Confederation Bridge.

See also

External links


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