Fate of MS Norgoma is again unclear

The current owner of the Norgoma is hoping to find an interested party for the retired ferry.

PORT COLBORNE—It looks like the fate of the M.S. Norgoma is again unclear, as a Port Colborne man notified the City of Sault Ste. Marie he no longer has an interest in the ship.

“I no longer have interest in the vessel,” stated Jeff Dwor last week. “I’ve given them all the information and my contacts of those I have talked to about the ship. Hopefully, that will consummate with a sale of the ship, and not the alternative.”

The M.S. Norgoma has remained docked west of Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie since the city approved the sale of the vessel to Mr. Dwor, in January. Mr. Dwor had been hoping to keep the ship alive, not have it demolished. He told The Expositor previously, “I would like someone to do something similar to what I had originally wanted to do with the ship. I thought it would be interesting to turn the ship into almost like a residence with apartments on the top two levels of the ship and the bottom level would be wonderful for people to have some commercial space available to them. I would still like it to be in the water; if it is located on land, then it just becomes typical, but if a portion of the ship remains in the water (with the apartments and commercial space) it makes it much more unique.”

“I haven’t been able to make my idea come to fruition,” said Mr. Dwor. “I’ve had two people indicate they wanted to buy the ship in the spring, whether they will be able to buy the vessel I don’t know.” He indicated he was starting out on a four-month winter vacation to Mexico and Ecuador.

When he purchased the ship from the City of Sault Ste. Marie there were contingencies on the sale. “I realized that since we are all older, there are fewer people I know who would be willing to help out with the idea I had for the ship.”

The City of Sault Ste. Marie had acquired the Norgoma in 1975 after the Chi-Cheemaun came into service and conveyed it to the St. Mary’s River Marine Heritage Centre in 1981 to allow the centre to continue to operate it as a museum ship and tourist attraction.

For many years, the Norgoma, which served as a ship museum in the city’s downtown waterfront, struggled to survive.

The vessel was reconveyed to the city in 2019.

The 185-foot-long vessel had at one time served as a means of transportation between Owen Sound and Sault Ste. Marie, and as a car ferry between Tobermory and South Baymouth.