Fire forces Marine Atlantic ferry bound for N.L. to return to N.S. wharf

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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NORTH SYDNEY, N.S. - The problem-plagued Marine Atlantic ferry Atlantic Vision was forced to return to port in North Sydney, N.S., on Wednesday after fire broke out in a thermal heating unit.
Tara Laing of Marine Atlantic said the ferry, which was heading to Port aux Basques, N.L., on its regular run, was met at the wharf by local firefighters who were called to assist ship's crew.
Laing said there were no initial reports of injuries from the fire.
But Lloyd MacIntosh, fire chief of the North Sydney Fire Department, said one firefighter was taken to hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion.
"Almost certainly there was smoke throughout the decks of the vessel," he said.
MacIntosh said the fire began at about 7:30 a.m. and firefighters used fans to help clear the smoke from the ferry and tried to cool temperatures on board.
"The incident was contained inside the boiler on board the vessel," he said.
Laing said the unit involved in the fire is "quite a significantly sized piece of equipment."
"It's actually in a closed area, so physically none of our passengers would even be able to see it," she added.
The Crown agency's newest acquisition, which was extensively renovated in Finland, already has a history of problems.
Fire broke out in a boiler room shortly after Christmas last year and just last month, the ship suddenly changed course on its own and veered toward the shore after leaving port in Newfoundland.
The ferry went into commercial service carrying passengers on March 31.
The previous fire happened while the ferry was involved in safety and orientation training sessions.
The ferry was built in Keil, Germany, in 2002 and operated between several European countries before it was acquired by Marine Atlantic last December.
On its website, Marine Atlantic says the ferry is larger than any other vessel it operates.

Organizations: Marine Atlantic, North Sydney Fire Department, Crown agency

Geographic location: N.S., NORTH SYDNEY, Port aux Basques Finland Newfoundland Keil Germany

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