Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre announced that following a competitive bidding process, Verreault Navigation Inc. of Les Méchins, Quebec, has been awarded a $4.8 million contract to modify and enhance some of the design elements of the ferry M/V Madeleine operated by CTMA Traversier Ltée.
between Cap-aux-Meules, in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, and Souris, Prince Edward Island.
"As a Madelinot, I am proud of the quality service offered by the Madeleine to our community and Prince Edward Island," said Mr. Lapierre. "Today, we are taking steps to modernize our ferry so it can continue to serve us well for years to come."
The Madeleine will be equipped with a new stern and modified to expand the loading deck, allow the ferry to carry more cargo and dock more easily, and provide better access for inspections and maintenance. This work is expected to prolong the life of the ferry by 10 to 15 years. Verreault Navigation Inc. will undertake these modifications between February and March 2006, when the ferry is not in service. If the work cannot be completed within this period of time, another ferry will be used to ensure continued services between Cap-aux-Meules and Souris.
These changes to the Madeleine will allow the ferry to comply with requirements developed by Transport Canada to further enhance the safety of all passenger ferries in Canada. These standards require passenger ferries to have more sophisticated stability features in case of accidental damage to the hull. They are based on international requirements established under the Safety of Life at Sea convention. The standards complement Transport Canada
’s existing framework for passenger ferries, including stringent requirements for design and construction, navigation, crew training, and firefighting and lifesaving equipment.
The Madeleine is owned by Transport Canada, which is responsible for capital investments and major repairs. The ferry service between Cap-aux-Meules and Souris has been operated by CTMA Traversier Ltée. since 1971, on behalf of the department.