To get the new ship online that will be taking over for the old Keller Ferry, the Martha S., ferry service will be suspended for close to six weeks beginning July 8. Ferry service will resume with the new vessel August 14, coinciding with the maiden voyage of the new vessel.
Since the new vessel is wider and sits higher in the water than its predecessor, parts of the terminals and ramps must be rebuilt. This work requires the terminals and existing ferry to be taken out of service. During the disruption, drivers will need to use alternate routes such as State Route 25 to reach their destinations.
Assembly work continues on the new ship, the Sanpoil. The pilot house is in place and electrical, hydraulic and drive systems are being installed. The vessel will be put in the water mid-July for testing and crew training.
A special christening ceremony and tribal blessing for the new vessel are scheduled for Aug. 14. Following the ceremony, the Sanpoil’s inaugural sailing will mark its entry into regular service.
The current vessel, M/V Martha S., has performed beyond expectations for over six decades, said Frucci. The final run for the Martha S. will be Sunday, July 7, after serving on the route for nearly 65 years.