May 25, 2010

Ferry runs aground in Hatteras Inlet

By IRENE NOLAN




A ferry traveling from Ocracoke to Hatteras ran aground early this afternoon on a shoal between Hatteras Inlet channel markers 8 and 9.

The incident happened about 12:27 p.m. in an area in the channel that is apparently shoaling, according to Lucy Wallace, communication officer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division.

The vessel that ran aground was the MV Croatoan. Another ferry, the MV Hatteras, was sent out empty to run a line to the grounded ferry and pull it off the shoal.

Wallace said that by 2:10 p.m. the Croatoan was heading to the Hatteras Ferry Docks under its own power.

Wallace said there were 21 vehicles and 45 passengers on the ferry and that none was injured.

“The vessel will be checked for damage once it arrives back at port,” Wallace said in an e-mail.

“It is out of our jurisdiction, since it’s a federal channel,” she added. “The Corps of Engineers is aware of the situation and taking steps to decide the best plan of action.
From the Ferry Division's side, our captains will be on alert and more vigilant when making the crossing until such time as dredging can take place.”

The channel in Hatteras Inlet is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Corps spokeswoman Penny Schmitt said this afternoon that a survey of the channel on May 20 indicated water that was slightly deeper than it was today.

She said that the Corps will be working with the U.S. Coast Guard to realign the channel markers in the area. And, she said, the Corps will work on finding funds to dredge the channel.

The new alignment for the buoys in the channel, when completed, will be available on the Corps of Engineers Web site, www.saw.usace.army.mil\nav






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