Sitting on the dock of the bay

PORT AUX BASQUES, Nfld. — Between uncooperative weather and uncooperative equipment, a Marine Atlantic ferry left a backlog of commercial traffic in two provinces this week.

A problem with the upper level off-loading ramp forced the corporation’s Caribou ferry into load-and-go operation earlier this week. And while the Caribou was only able to utilize about 50 percent of its deck space, gale winds off the southwest coast of Newfoundland kept the ship at sea.

After being stranded for about 24 hours outside the Port aux Basques, Nfld. harbor, the Caribou was finally able to make port. The docking mechanism was somewhat repaired and limited vehicle use was restored to the upper level.

All the while, both commercial and passenger traffic began to build on both sides of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It was reported that more than 100 trucks were stuck at the North Sydney, N.S. terminal and with the official parking lot only having room for about 60 trucks many were forced to park their rigs on neighboring streets.

Marine Atlantic officials told local media the ferries are traveling on a load-and-go basis until the backlog is cleared up, especially for commercial traffic.

A full assessment of the situation is not expected until later next week.

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