MV Princess of Acadia (1971)

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MV Princess of Acadia, Saint John, NB to Digby, NS ferry.
Name: Princess of Acadia
Port of registry:  Canada, Saint John
Route: Bay of Fundy
Ordered: 1969
Builder: Saint John Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Ltd., Saint John
Cost: $8-million CAD
Laid down: January 1, 1970
Completed: 1971
Acquired: May 27, 1971
Maiden voyage: June 1, 1971
In service: May 27, 1971
Out of service: July 28, 2015
Fate: listed for sale
Status: Nov. 2017 moored at Port Colborne, Ont. for dismantling[1]
Notes: Replaced by MV Fundy Rose
General characteristics
Tonnage: 10,051.71 GT, 2,447 DWT
Length: 480 ft (150 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draught: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Depth: 40 ft (12 m)
Propulsion: 2 diesel electric engines
Capacity: 650 passengers
Crew: 28

MV Princess of Acadia is a roll-on/roll-off passenger and motor vehicle ferry that traveled between Digby, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick, crossing the Bay of Fundy. The vessel holds 650 passengers and can transport 180 automobile equivalents.[2] On July 28, 2015 the ship was replaced by the MV Fundy Rose.


In 1969 Canadian Pacific Limited subsidiary CP Ships sought to renew its Digby - Saint John passenger-only ferry service operated by SS Princess of Acadia. The federal government subsidized construction of the new passenger and motor vehicle ferry Princess of Acadia at Saint John Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Ltd. and built new ferry terminals at Digby and Saint John in exchange for a commitment from CP Ships to operate the service until such time as it was no longer profitable. Princess of Acadia entered service in June 1971, replacing her namesake, and operated on the Digby - Saint John route for CP Ships until the service began to lose money by the mid-1970s.[3][4]

The Princess of Acadia loading in St. John with the bow entry raised.

Under the terms of the 1969 agreement, CP Ships transferred ownership of the vessel in 1976 to the Minister of Transport. The federal government transferred management of the vessel to the newly created Crown corporation CN Marine. In 1986 CN Marine was renamed Marine Atlantic. In 1997 the federal government removed itself from managing the vessel and operating and subsidizing the Digby - Saint John route. The winning bidder for the service was Bay Ferries, a subsidiary of Northumberland Ferries Limited (NFL); the federal government remains the owner of the vessel and the ferry terminals.

Princess of Acadia continued in service under the management of Bay Ferries after 1997 and the ferry service was regarded[by whom?] as a key link for public transport for local residents in southwestern Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick. She was considered[citation needed] vital for exporting resources such as seafood from southwestern Nova Scotia and she was similarly considered[by whom?] vital for the growth and sustainability of tourism in both provinces.

In mid-2000s, the rising operating costs and absence of a subsidy from the federal government began to raise the issue of whether the ferry was sustainable. Beginning in 2006 both the provincial governments of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as well as the Government of Canada extended an operating subsidy to Bay Ferries to keep the service operating. The Digby-to-Saint John ferry service received another subsidy from federal government in July 2014.[5]

In 2013 the federal government announced $60 million in funding toward a replacement of Princess of Acadia.[6] On 27 October 2014 the Federal Government announced the purchase from Blue Star Ferries, Greece of Blue Star Ithaki, built in 2000, for about €31 million. She will enter service in Canada in 2015.[7][8]

Princess of Acadia leaving Saint John harbor for the last time


  1. ^ "Princess of Acadia - IMO 7039567". October 27, 2017. 
  2. ^ The Princess of Acadia Ferry: General Particulars | Bay Ferries Limited
  3. ^ Miramar Ship Index, MV Princess of Acadia, ID#7039567
  4. ^ Musk, George. (1981). Canadian Pacific: The Story of the Famous Shipping Line, p. 86.
  5. ^ Digby, Caribou ferry services get funding boost from Ottawa
  6. ^ Saint John-Digby ferry to be replaced
  7. ^ Medel, Brian (27 October 2014). "Feds buy Digby ferry successor for about $44.3 million". The Chronicle Herald. Halifax NS. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Attica confirms sale". TradeWinds. Oslo, Norway. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 


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