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Marine Atlantic ferry ports and current routes
Marine Atlantic Inc. (fr: Marine Atlantique) is an independent Canadianmarker Crown corporation offering ferry services between the provinces of Newfoundland and Labradormarker and Nova Scotiamarker.

Marine Atlantic's corporate headquarters are in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labradormarker.

Current operations

Marine Atlantic operates ferries across the Cabot Straitmarker on two routes:

The Port aux Basques route is operated year-round and is mandated under the Newfoundland Act, which is a part of the Constitution of Canada. This service was assumed by Canadian National Railway in 1949 from the Newfoundland Railwaymarker when Newfoundlandmarker entered into Confederation.

The Argentia route is operated seasonally during the summer months. This service was established by CNR in 1967.


Marine Atlantic owns and operates 4 Ro-Pax (roll-on, roll-off, passenger) vessels.

 and the   are among the largest ferry vessels operating in North America. Classed "100A1" by Lloyd'smarker with an ice classification of "Northern Baltic 1A Super," these vessels have similar dimensions as medium-sized cruise ships. They are based on a unique Canadian hull-design called "Gulfspan". Their dimensions are 27,000 registered tons  and 179 metres long, carrying 1,200 passengers, 100 crew, and 370 automobile-equivalent vehicles.

, purchased in 2001, is significantly smaller and a less-capable icebreaker than the Gulfspan vessels. This ferry's dimensions are 18,500 registered tons  and 157 metres long, carrying 500 passengers, and 250 automobile-equivalent vehicles.

joined the fleet in 2008 on a five-year charter.
 is under charter from the Estoniamarker-based Tallinkmarker for five years from October 2008 onwards. At  , the Atlantic Vision is the largest ship in Marine Atlantic fleet.

Previous vessels

Marine Atlantic inherited numerous vessels from CN Marine in 1986, all of which have since been disposed of. Many of these vessels have gone through numerous ownership changes and, given their advanced age, many have also been scrapped.

Cabot Strait

Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy

Labrador coast

Newfoundland south coast

Northumberland Strait

For further information on ferries which operated on Northumberland Straitmarker prior to Marine Atlantic's service (1986-1997), see Confederation Bridgemarker.

Corporate history

Marine Atlantic was established in 1986 to take over the provision of ferry services in Atlantic Canadamarker which had previously been operated by CN Marine, a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway. Its headquarters were in Monctonmarker, New Brunswickmarker.

Extensive budget cuts by the Government of Canada during the latter part of the 1990s led to a drastic downsizing of Marine Atlantic's operations, precipitated by the 1997 opening of the Confederation Bridgemarker which replaced Marine Atlantic's most heavily used ferry service, the constitutionally-mandated ferry to Prince Edward Islandmarker.

Later in 1997, the company transferred the operation of its Bay of Fundymarker and Gulf of Mainemarker ferry services between Saint John, New Brunswickmarker-Digby, Nova Scotiamarker and Yarmouth, Nova Scotiamarker-Bar Harbor, Maine to the private-sector company Bay Ferries Limited, a subsidiary of Northumberland Ferries Limited.

That year also saw Marine Atlantic remove itself from the provision of coastal ferry services in Newfoundland and Labradormarker with the transfer of operations to the provincial government at the end of the 1997 shipping season. This agreement was reached between the federal and provincial governments in exchange for federal funding to extend regional roads such as the Trans-Labrador Highway to service coastal communities. These coastal ferry services had been initiated by the Newfoundland Railwaymarker and were assumed by Canadian National Railways, following the province's entry into Confederation in 1949, although they were not constitutionally mandated. Also in 1997 Marine Atlantic sold off its Newfoundland Dockyard, located in St. John's, Newfoundland to a private operator. The dockyard built in the 1880s was at one point in time owned by the Reid Newfoundland Company, then in 1923 was taken over by the Newfoundland Railwaymarker company. when Newfoundland joined Canada ownership passed to Canadian National.

In 1998, the company moved its headquarters from Monctonmarker to St. John'smarker, after briefly considering North Sydneymarker and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labradormarker.

In late 2004 the federal government announced the appointment of a three-member committee tasked with examining future operations of Marine Atlantic. One of the options that was reportedly considered included privatization, however the subsequent report called for improved service through fleet renewal, lower fares, increased frequency of crossings, and moving the headquarters to Port aux Basques.

Former routes

From its inception in 1986 until 1997, Marine Atlantic operated the following routes:

Newfoundland Dockyard

Marine Atlantic operated the Newfoundland Dockyard, a dry dock located in St. John'smarker from 1986 until its sale in 1997. This facility had been established by the Newfoundland Railwaymarker to build and repair its coastal ferries. In 1949 it was transferred to Canadian National Railways after that company assumed ownership of the Newfoundland Railway when the colony entered Confederation. Its responsibility was transferred to the railway's subsidiary CN Marine in 1977 and then to Marine Atlantic in 1986. Upon its privatization in 1997, it was renamed NewDock-St. John's Dockyard Company.

See also


External links

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