Transportation and Works
January 22, 2019

New Strait of Belle Isle Ferry to Begin Service Early

Labrador Marine Inc.’s MV Qajaq W, the ferry formerly known as MV Grete, will begin transporting passengers and vehicles across the Strait of Belle Isle later this month, approximately two months earlier than expected.

The ferry arrived in St. John’s on Sunday morning and departs for St. Barbe on Wednesday.

The eight-year-old MV Qajaq W (pronounced “kayak W”) replaces the 49-year-old MV Apollo to service the Strait of Belle Isle. The vessel can transport as many as 300 passengers, 120 passenger vehicles and eight tractor trailers – 60 passengers and 35 vehicles more than the Apollo.

The seven-year-old MV Hiiumaa is currently undergoing modifications in Norway and will begin servicing communities on the north coast of Labrador and Black Tickle in June, as scheduled.

The two new vessels improve the way passengers, freight, and vehicles are transported throughout Labrador and across the Strait of Belle Isle. Both vessels are fully accessible for passengers with disabilities, 1A ice class certified and capable of operating in heavy sea ice conditions.

The contracts with Labrador Marine are valued at approximately $11.9 million per year for a 12-year term on the Strait of Belle Isle and $14.6 million per year for a 15-year term for northern Labrador. The contract serving northern Labrador will be delivered in working partnership with Nunatsiavut Marine Inc.

These initiatives deliver on commitments in The Way Forward to strengthen the province’s economic foundation and deliver better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at

“The investments our government have made in ferries for the Strait of Belle Isle and northern Labrador, as well as the Trans-Labrador Highway, are providing stable and improved transportation for Labrador. These modern and accessible ferries will also encourage more tourists to visit communities in Labrador and provide a more comfortable experience for all travellers.”
Honourable Steve Crocker
Minister of Transportation and Works

“I am delighted to see the new ferry, MV Qajaq W, come to the waters of the Strait of Belle Isle. This will greatly improve marine capabilities for the region, providing a substantial increase for vehicle, cargo, and passenger capacity. It’s also a significant moment for our province as the vessel is named Qajaq, reflecting the Indigenous elements of Labrador which highlights an important piece of our vast history and culture.”
Honourable Lisa Dempster
Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development and MHA for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair

“This marks a substantial milestone for St. Barbe - L'Anse aux Meadows district. Not only will MV Qajaq W provide greater capacity for transportation, this investment will deliver half the carbon footprint of its predecessor, is fully accessible for all passengers, and will increase the opportunity for tourism growth. This investment delivers on our government’s promise to provide better services and outcomes for residents.”
Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore
Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and MHA for St. Barbe - L'Anse aux Meadows

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Learn more

The Way Forward

Marine Services

Minister Crocker Announces Stronger, More Reliable Marine Services Transportation Network for Labrador

Provincial Government Enhancing Passenger, Vehicle and Freight Capacity for Northern Labrador Ferry Service

Provincial Government to Increase Passenger, Vehicle and Freight Capacity for Strait of Belle Isle Ferry Services

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Media contacts
Rod Drover
Transportation and Works
709-729-1758, 730-4607

Erin Sulley
Government Members Office

2019 01 22                              12:05 p.m.