Malfunction on ferry causes two-hour delay

Ferry’s condition “immaculate”

An electrical problem on the Francois Lake ferry resulted in two-hours of downtime on the morning of May 5, but Ron Van Tine, the marine manager at WaterBridge, the company that operates the ferry, said the vessel remains in shipshape condition.

Hal Matthews, the captain on board at the time, noticed a steering issue during a crossing and brought the ferry into the Northside dock at 10 a.m. The ferry remained docked until noon, when service was re-established.

The engineering crew on duty found a burned-out fuse, but when replacing that fuse didn’t resolve the problem, the senior engineer, Leslie D’Silva, was called in, said Van Tine.

The problem turned out to be a faulty electrical connection — something difficult to identify on a vessel with a lot of wiring, he said.

There were few vehicles waiting, and all of them were able to board for the noon departure from the Northside.

“It was light traffic, there was never any overflow,” he said. The ferry subsequently ran on “shuttle mode,” meaning that continuous departures took place to catch up on the missed sailings.

“It keeps the traffic moving,” Van Tine said. In the end, the ferry had perhaps one less sailing than usual, he said.

Van Tine praised the performance of the crew on the ship for how they handled the situation.

“I would just like to say hats off to the crew of the Francois Forester for all their hard work and a job well done on Saturday,” he said.

Regularly scheduled departures leave the Northside at 10:05 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12:01 a.m., and from the Southside at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Van Tine said the ship is in excellent condition, and has had very little downtime since it was put into service in 2004.

“It’s pretty immaculate,” he said. “Everything is pretty well kept.”

Asked about procedures for reporting missed sailings, Van Tine said the company sends daily reports with information including the number of sailings to the provincial ministry of transportation.

Inspections on the vessel are performed by Lloyd’s Register, a professional services company, he added.

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