June 21, 2018
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Coast Guard investigating Vinalhaven ferry mishap

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The U.S. Coast Guard is looking into what caused the ferry Everett Libby to run aground Thursday morning shortly after leaving the Vinalhaven Maine State Ferry terminal en route to Rockland.

Thirty people, 28 of whom were passengers, were on board the scheduled 8:45 a.m. ferry run when the vessel struck a ledge in The Reach, near Norton’s Point, according to the Coast Guard.

No injuries were reported in connection with the incident, which occurred about 9:25 a.m.

Visibility at the time of the grounding was less than a quarter mile, according to officials from the Sector Northern New England command center.

Coast Guard Operations Specialist 1st Class Wes Williams said that after the ferry became grounded, its captain was able to back away from the ledge.

After determining that the ferry wasn’t taking on water, the captain returned to the Vinalhaven terminal to drop off the passengers, who boarded a later ferry, Williams said.

After Coast Guard personnel made sure the vessel was seaworthy and checked its engine and hull, the ferry was allowed to continue under its own power.

A 47-foot motor lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Rockland then escorted the Everett Libby to a ferry landing in Rockport, where Coast Guard investigators and inspectors met the vessel.

“We worked quickly with the Maine State Ferry Service to ensure the vessel was safe to transit to Rockland and to minimize interruption to ferry service,” Lt. Lisa Ceraolo said.

Ken Stuart, a Coast Guard search and rescue specialist, said Thursday night that Coast Guard personnel from the marine safety detachment in Belfast and from South Portland were preparing to conduct an underwater inspection of the ferry to determine the cause and extent of the damage.

According to the Maine State Ferry Service’s Web site, the 15-mile trip from Vinalhaven to Rockland takes one hour and 15 minutes.

According to the Maine Department of Transportation, the 104.8-foot Everett Libby was built in 1960.

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