South Baymouth ramp again causes Chi-Cheemaun woes

File photo.

SOUTH BAYMOUTH—A problem with the vehicle dock ramp is again being blamed as the cause for an interruption of the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry service between Tobermory and South Baymouth last week.

Last Thursday, Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC) reported that due to a dock malfunction at South Baymouth the ship was unable to unload the car decks and was returning to Tobermory. “The Chi-Cheemaun will depart Tobermory at approximately 6 pm with walk on passengers only and from South Baymouth at 7:45 pm with walk on passengers only.”

A subsequent OSTC Facebook post at 10:30 pm on Thursday evening (August 18) explained, “with continued efforts by repair crew, the vehicle ramp has been repaired. Chi-Cheemaun will operate its normal schedule August 19.”

OSTC spokesperson Kaleena Sanford told The Expositor Friday, “Once again the problem was with a loading vehicle ramp malfunction in South Baymouth. This is unprecedented. We have never seen this many mechanical breakdowns as we have this year season. It has been a difficult situation.”

“Our crew worked long hours to get this issue resolved and were able to fix the problem as of 10:30 pm last (Thursday) night,” she said. “Staff put in many hours to make sure the transportation service is operating. Disruptions in travel plans among our passengers is definitely not what we want.”

Ms. Sanford pointed out all customers with reservations were contacted, and communication was posted publicly for members of the public.

As was reported in The Expositor on August 10, the Island’s ferry service had experienced a series of unexpected delays this season. The Chi-Cheemaun had been put back into service on the afternoon of August 5 after a dock ramp malfunction at South Baymouth the previous day had cancelled the last sailings on August 4 and the first return trip August 5 while repairs were completed. However, while one problem was solved another one cropped up with the ship itself that weekend.

On August 6 the OSTC reported that the 5:45 pm departure from Tobermory and the 7:45 pm departure had to be cancelled because of a mechanical issue on the Chi-Cheemaun. August 7 sailings also had to be cancelled due to the mechanical issue on the Chi-Cheemaun.