05/28/2014 05:43 EDT | Updated 07/28/2014 05:59 EDT

Bluenose II 'test drive' cancelled at last minute

The rebuilt Bluenose II was expected to be back on the water today.

However, the province cancelled the "test drive" to test the ship's steering less than two and a half hours before it was due to hit the water.

Glenn Friel, spokesperson for the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, said the cancellation was due to a "missing American Bureau of Shipping certificate" which is a certificate that grants permission for the vessel to leave the dock.

Kelliann Dean, deputy minister of the heritage department, said the province had a verbal agreement with ABS that they did not need a certificate in order to test drive the vessel. 

But Dean says, Tuesday night, ABS informed the province not only did they need an ABS certificate, but they were also required to have an ABS representative onboard the Bluenose II during the sailing. 

She says it will be at least a few days before the Bluenose II will be allowed to leave the dock but it could be as long as a few weeks. 

The schooner is millions of dollars over budget and late returning to service.  

The vessel has not yet been ready for sea trials.

Earlier this year, Premier Stephen McNeil called the project a "boondoggle" and asked the auditor general's office to investigate.

The auditor general was called in to do a total review of the project, a project which has now racked up a bill of $18 million.

The Bluenose II was supposed to return to regular sailing in the summer of 2012 after an extensive two-year rebuild.