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Transportation and Works
May 5, 2011

First New Ferry of Vessel Replacement Strategy Enters Service

The MV Grace Sparkes, the first new ferry to be completed under the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s vessel replacement strategy, sailed into its home port of St. Brendan’s today (Thursday, May 5), officially entering service in the provincial ferry fleet.

“Today is a proud day for this province as we see the results of years of hard work and planning in our efforts to revitalize and update our provincial ferry fleet,” said the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Transportation and Works. “The MV Grace Sparkes is a well-built, state-of-the-art vessel that will serve this province for decades to come.”

“I am pleased to see the MV Grace Sparkes enter service in the provincial fleet and look forward to her serving the people of St. Brendan’s,” said Sandy Collins, MHA for the District of Terra Nova. “Improving transportation systems in rural Newfoundland and Labrador is a priority for this government and today we see proof of that commitment in this new vessel.”

The MV Grace Sparkes and its sister ship, the MV Hazel McIsaac were officially christened at a ceremony at the Kiewit Offshore Services Cow Head facility near Marystown on March 11. A community ceremony to mark the vessel’s entry into service at St. Brendan’s will take place at a later date.

“When the people of St. Brendan’s first learned that the MV Grace Sparkes would come to serve our community upon completion, we were ecstatic,” said St. Brendan’s Mayor Veronica Broomfield. “Today, when we look to the cove and see the ferry docked and ready to serve our community, we are realizing a dream come true.”

The MV Grace Sparkes arrived at St. Brendan’s at approximately 8:15 a.m. The vessel will assume the regular schedule with the first crossing Friday morning. The MV Hamilton Sound will then proceed to Lewisporte for decommissioning.

The MV Grace Sparkes and the MV Hazel McIsaac are 42-metre, 80-passenger vessels with capacity for 16 passenger vehicles or one transport truck and 11 passenger vehicles. The vessels come at a construction cost of approximately $27.5 million each.

Budget 2011 Standing Strong: For Prosperity. For Our Future. For Newfoundland and Labrador provides $39.3 million for the continuation of the vessel replacement strategy. This includes funding to make final payments on the MV Grace Sparkes and MV Hazel McIsaac, to begin construction of a third medium-sized vessel, to complete the design and begin construction of a large-size vessel and to complete the design and purchase materials for six small-size ferry vessels.

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Media contacts:

Roger Scaplen
Director of Communications
Department of Transportation and Works
709-729-3015, 697-5267
Donna Ivey
Communications Manager
House of Assembly
Government Members Office
709-729-0898, 697-1424
Veronica Broomfield
Mayor of St. Brendan’s

2011 05 05                                                                          12:15 p.m.

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