Ferry that crashed into Quebec wharf was in lamentable condition: TSB report

The MV Apollo is shown in dry dock in Godbout, Que., Monday, Feb.25, 2019. Michael Bacon/The Canadian Press

A crash-prone ferry that struck a Quebec wharf last February was an accident waiting to happen, according to a report released Friday by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The TSB investigated how the MV Apollo collided with the landing dock in Godbout, Que., on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, on Feb. 25.

READ MORE: Crash-prone Quebec ferry gets new life as underwater diving attraction

Investigators concluded the vessel’s propulsion and manoeuvring systems had many anomalies and the ship’s captain needed more time to get acclimated to the functioning of the vessel.

The captain’s limited training and experience in manoeuvring the newly acquired vessel led to an incorrect assessment of the ship’s speed and course, and of the effects of ice and wind when it approached the Godbout wharf.

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On Mar. 16, the ship collided with a wharf in Matane, Que., forcing the province’s ferry authority to remove it from service permanently.

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The collisions, one of which left a gaping hole in the vessel’s bow, ended its sailing life. But the TSB concluded the ship was already badly damaged before the two crashes.

The ferry, which used to operate between Blanc Sablon, Que. and St. Barbe, NL, was hastily purchased for $2.1 million without inspection by the provincial Crown corporation that oversees ferry service in Quebec.

The Apollo will be given a new life as a diving destination and aquatic habitat, being turned into an artificial reef for scuba-diving enthusiasts in Godbout.

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