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Transport Canada investigating fire aboard the MS Chi-Cheemaun

MS Chi-Cheemaun Photo by Shutterstock/Sketchart

Around 2:20 a.m. on March 12, Thunder Bay Fire Rescue responded to a call at 201 Shipyard Road, a dry-dock facility in Thunder Bay, Ont. where the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry was undergoing maintenance work.

The ferry, a popular passenger vessel operated May through October between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island, Ont. by the Owen Sound Transportation Company, had caught fire. Fire rescue eventually discovered the fire deep in the ship’s boiler room and five water pump ships were brought in to assist.

Learn about the history of the Chi-Cheemaun

According to Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, the boiler room’s electrical system and one of the ferry’s boilers received extensive damage. The ferry’s second boiler was still operational, though, says Kevin Anderson, captain of Thunder Bay Fire Rescue.

Since the Owen Sound Transportation Company operates on behalf of the province of Ontario, Transport Canada is conducting an investigation into the fire, the cause of which has yet to be determined.

“Transport Canada is gathering information to determine if there was any non-compliance with the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 or its regulations. The department will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action should we identify any non-compliance,” a media representative for Transport Canada said in an email.

The Owen Sound Transportation Company did not respond to requests for comment, but according to the company’s website, service on the MS Chi-Cheemaun is expected to resume on May 6 and continue through the summer until October 16.

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