Canadian ferry owner Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC) has confirmed that one of the vessels in its fleet, the 111-metre Ro-Pax ferry Chi-Cheemaun, will operate a transportation only service for a limited number of travelers for the entire month of June 2020.
This comes after the Federal Ministry of Transport issued an interim order saying that ferries that provide the most practical means to give passengers access to their domicile or residence or their place of employment, give passengers access to essential goods and services, transport cargo to resupply communities, business or industry, or provide other essential services, are permitted to operate for as long as the service provider implements strict measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.
OSTC says this early service is in support of the many commercial carriers who normally use the ferry to transit between regions of northern and southwestern Ontario, and customers for whom the ferry is the most practical means of accessing their owned residences.
The ferry service will also provide an important second point of access to and departure from Manitoulin Island currently served only by a single lane wooden swing bridge at Little Current.
The ferry will not be available for passengers engaging in tourism or recreational activities for the duration of the ministry of transport’s interim order.
OSTC clarified that the vessel will accommodate only commercial customers, who are defined as employees in essential service sectors (e.g. hydro, telecommunications), and “through travelers,” who are defined as non-commercial customers who are traveling for an essential purpose.
Passenger capacity under the interim order cannot exceed 50 per cent of the vessel’s certified capacity. Chi-Cheemaun is permitted to carry up to 300 passengers under the interim order but will not exceed 125 passengers per crossing to ensure physical distancing is possible throughout the interior passenger spaces.
The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!