NEWS

Stranded Lake Erie ferry docks in Leamington

10/12/2012 06:42 EDT | Updated 12/12/2012 05:12 EST
The passengers and crew who were stuck aboard the Jiimaan, a ferry that ran aground off the shore of Lake Erie yesterday, are back on dry land after a tugboat dislodged the boat from a sandbar.

The ferry docked in Leamington, Ont., just past 2 p.m. this afternoon, after running aground off Kingsville yesterday.

Nineteen passengers, including a young baby, and 16 crew members were aboard the ship when it came to a halt at 1:45 p.m. Thursday due to low water levels, 60 metres from shore in Kingsville, near Windsor.

Pelee Island resident Lindsay Norris's husband and her eight-month-old daughter were aboard the ship.

"Usually on that boat, it's like a small community," she said. "And we are familiar with the crew and the members on the boat, so they all know Charlie and see her sailing all the time."

She said the crew made sure her daughter was well taken care of during the overnight ordeal.

A tugboat pulled the ferry free around 1 p.m. Friday. Not long after, the ship was headed to a dock in Leamington under its own power.

Norris is headed over on the other ferry this evening to reunite with her husband and daughter. She hopes the stranding doesn't affect tourism to the island.

Passengers coming off the ship were offered refunds, the Ministry of Transportation said in an email to CBC News.

The MTO said it will "consider compensation to passengers for direct expenses" and has advised the crew to put people seeking compensation in touch with MTO staff in the West Regional Office.

The ministry also said another in water inspection will be performed to make sure the ferry's propeller and rudder were not damaged.

The results of that inspection will then be sent to Transport Canada, the provincial ministry said. Once Transport Canada signs off, the ferry can return to service from Leamington.

Susan Schrempf, CEO and president of Owen Sound Transportation Company, originally told CBC News on Thursday that 18 passengers and 15 crew were on board. The company adjusted that number late Friday to 19 and 16, respectively.

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