Loyalist Township has released an update detailing upcoming maintenance on the Frontenac II, the ferry which currently transports vehicles between Amherst Island and the mainland.
According to the Township, a scheduled annual inspection took place in April 2023 by Lloyd’s, the “recognized organization (RO) with an authorization agreement with Transport Canada to inspect and certify vessels.” The Township noted that there were some items to correct identified by Lloyd’s in their Final Attendance Report (FAR) based on that inspection. Since then, Loyalist Township has reportedly been working with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to correct those items and, to date, most of them have been resolved.
“The remaining items to correct are required to be completed by November 30, 2023, pending an extension from Transport Canada,” Loyalist Township stated. “One of the remaining items is to address the replacement of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) bottles (part of the fire suppression system) which will require 12 to 18 hours of shutdown.”
According to the update, MTO is planning two separate shutdowns on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, to complete this work. The first shutdown is planned to begin at 9:30 a.m. and is expected to last until 11:30 a.m. The second shutdown will start at 7:30 p.m. on Monday evening and the ferry will remain out of service until Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. If additional work is required after these two shutdowns, another shutdown will be scheduled by MTO to start on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, at 7:30 p.m.
The Township said service disruption notifications and reminders will be sent via the Ferry Services Notifications system. Register to receive notifications at https://www.loyalist.ca/en/living-in-loyalist/amherst-island-ferry.aspx.
Dry dock survey extension
The Frontenac II was originally scheduled to leave for a dry dock survey in Q2 2023, however, the MTO applied for an extension and received conditional approval from Transport Canada in September 2023.
As a result of the extension request, Transport Canada required MTO to perform an underwater hull inspection and issued a deadline of November 10 to complete the inspection. The shutdown on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, which took place on short notice to residents and visitors, was required to complete this specific inspection as it was the only date available before the November 10, 2023, deadline for the underwater inspection company to perform their inspection, according to the Township. After the inspection, the Township was informed that a minor issue was discovered and corrected on the spot by the divers. Once Transport Canada is satisfied with the inspection report, they will officially approve the extension, according to the Township.
Kingstonist has inquired with the Township as to why MTO applied for the extension, when the Frontenac II will have its dry dock survey, and if the Township received any indication of an updated timeline for the new electric ferry, the Amherst Islander II, to go into service. Kingstonist also requested a full list of the items identified to be corrected in September, and a list of those items still needing to be corrected. No response was received by time of publication.
Scheduled thruster maintenance
According to the update, in late September, MTO informed Loyalist Township about their decision to replace one of the thrusters on Frontenac II. This maintenance activity was first scheduled for Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, but was cancelled due to weather conditions. It was rescheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7, 2023, and had to be cancelled again due to weather conditions.
“We fully understand that these frequent cancellations are frustrating and significantly impact your personal and professional appointments however it was critical to complete this safety-related activity to ensure that we maintain the highest level of safety standards for our passengers and crew. This work successfully took place on November 15, 2023,” the Township said.
Additionally, Loyalist Township “wishes to assure the public” that all notifications by MTO to perform work on the vessel which could result in a disruption of ferry service are carefully reviewed by staff to ensure:
- notice is provided to the residents and travelling public; staff, including operations staff, work with MTO and, where possible, a minimum of 48 hours notice is provided for any non-emergency shutdowns
- where possible, the maintenance activity is scheduled during non-peak hours to minimize the impact of disruption; and
- where possible multiple maintenance activities are coordinated at the same time to reduce the total number of required shutdowns.
“We thank you for your continued cooperation and patience,” the Township concluded.
Kingstonist will provide updated coverage on this matter if/when more information becomes available.