The crash-prone ferry MV Apollo, which officials on Quebec’s North Shore had hoped to sink and turn into an underwater diving attraction, is likely headed for the scrapyard.
A non-profit organization that had been overseeing a plan to give the ferry new life as a diving destination and aquatic habitat says it won’t have enough funds to complete the work.
Jean-Yves Bouffard, mayor of Godbout, Que., and head of the rebirth project, says the discovery of asbestos in the ship, coupled with other necessary repairs, means an additional $4 million would be needed to complete the project.
About 30 per cent of the work to create the artificial reef has been done at a cost of about $1.7-million, but attempts to secure more funding from the government have been unsuccessful.
The provincial Crown corporation that oversees ferry service in Quebec bought the MV Apollo without inspection for $2.1 million in January 2019 as it sought to restore service across the St. Lawrence River.
The ferry, which had previously operated between Blanc Sablon, Que., and St. Barbe, N.L., crashed twice in short order: once in February 2019 with the landing dock in Godbout and the next month at the wharf in Matane, Que., across the river.
The collisions forced the province’s ferry authority to remove it from service permanently, and a deal was concluded by local officials to obtain the vessel from the province for its tourism project.
Bouffard says there are now several companies looking at buying and scrapping the failed ferry, which is costing $30,000 a month to keep docked.