A fire onboard a Marine Atlantic ferry heading to Port aux Basques early yesterday morning forced the vessel to return to North Sydney.

The fire was discovered in the thermal heating unit of the MV Atlantic Vision a little more than an hour into the crossing. It was contained to the boiler room.

Many of the more than 600 passengers were asleep in their cabins and awoke to the ship’s announcement that there was an incident on board the vessel.


"When the alarm first went off we thought, 'Oh, a wake up call.' But quickly realized that it wasn't, that it was a ship's announcement," said Roxanne Chisholm, who along with her husband Andrew, were on their way to Baie Verte Peninsula.

"They told us that the boat wasn't sinking. That everything was under control, but that we were heading back."

Marine Atlantic's marine superintendent Keith Hopkins said this is the second incident involving a fire in the thermal heating units on board the Atlantic Vision.