The operators of the Nova Star on Thursday canceled four crossings next week between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, so crews can replace the ferry’s emergency evacuation system.

The ferry, which began service on May 15, has been operating with a fully functioning system that it borrowed while the ship’s manufacturer worked to repack the original evacuation system, which was inflated for testing. The system includes a chute and four inflatable life rafts.

The original system was inflated two weeks ago so the U.S. Coast Guard could inspect it.

“It’s quite the system. Once you deploy it, it takes a lot to pack it all up,” said Dennis Bailey, spokesman for Nova Star Cruises Ltd.

Manufactured by Survitec Group, an English manufacturer of personal survival equipment on aircraft and ships, the system on the Nova Star holds more than 1,000 people, Bailey said. In addition, the vessel has four lifeboats that carry 150 people each.

The following sailings will be canceled so work crews can remove the borrowed evacuation system and replace it with the original system.

Tuesday, May 27: Portland departure

Wednesday, May 28: both Yarmouth and Portland departures

Thursday, May 29: Yarmouth departure

Passengers currently booked on one of the canceled routes will be refunded and given the opportunity to rebook passage.

Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:

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