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Chi-Cheemaun returns to normal operations - July 2, 2015

Owen Sound Transportation Company apologizes for the disruption to ferry service during which the company was forced to cancel 3 of 4 round trips on June 30, and 1 of 4 round trips on July 1. We are pleased to report that ferry service is now back to normal.

We sincerely regret the inconvenience that was caused to our ferry guests whose travel plans were affected, and we thank all of you for working with us to reschedule transportation.

The service interruption was caused by a single hydraulic seal failure in the steering gear control system. It was not a catastrophic failure as the seal was leaking and not ruptured, but any leakage from a system that depends on hydraulic pressure is significant, and requires immediate remediation. In this case, remediation required a replacement seal and a qualified technician to make the repair. Tobermory is 4-5 hours away from major marine shipping channels along which speciality technicians are located, primarily for their proximity to large commercial ships. That means that when a specialty technician is required to attend the Chi-Cheemaun, the ship must wait 4-5 hours for an available technician to arrive before the repair can be made.

In this specific incident, the ship lost the first 2 round trips on June 30 while waiting for the technician to drive to Tobermory. Upon his arrival, the repair was made, systems were tested at the dock, and the ship was able to leave at 3:40pm. Late in the crossing, the newly replaced seal showed signs of failure, and the decision was made to return to Tobermory and make a second repair. Because a higher pressure seal was required, the technician who had been on board the ship monitoring the repair, left for Toronto as soon as the vessel reached Tobermory at 8pm, picked up the new seal, and drove back to Tobermory on the morning of July 1, arriving at approximately 9:30am.

The second repair which also included additional adjustments to the system, was completed by 10:30am. The system was recharged and dock tests performed while vehicles were being loaded onto the ship to expedite departure. The 11:20am ferry departed at 12:10pm, and was able to operate the remainder of the day without incident, albeit behind schedule by 40-50 minutes.

Today, July 2, the ferry is on its normal operating schedule, and we do not anticipate any further disruption to service as a result of this event. The company strives for no interruption to service and has solid preventative maintenance schedules, and proactive machinery replacement plans in place. As a result, the company has been highly successful, and has maintained a near perfect history of no lost sailings due to mechanical issues since the vessel was re-powered in 2007.This is only the second such incident in that period, the first being an issue with a bow visor closure that resulted in the loss of two round trips while repairs were undertaken.

We know you rely on us to be reliable, and we expect the same of ourselves.

Thank you again for your patience, loyalty to the service, and support of Manitoulin Island and the Bruce Peninsula. Travel in Good Spirits!

July 1, 2015 - Ferry Service Update at 3:00pm

3:00pm:Ferry service is returning to normal, but is operating approximately 45 minutes behind schedule. Traffic backlogs from the service disruption should be cleared after the next departure from Tobermory.

12:15pm: Chi-Cheemaun is departing Tobermory and is now on route to South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island. The late departure will mean that ferry service will operate approximately 30 minutes behind schedule today. Passengers with reservations are still required to arrive one hour in advance of the scheduled departure time to maintain their reserved status.

Please call 800-265-3163 for space availability and to make reservations. At this time, we have space available on the northbound 8pm from Tobermory, and the 5:50pm (limited) and 10pm southbound from Manitoulin Island.

Thank you for your patience. It will be a very busy day on the ferry docks, and the shore staff and ship crew are working hard to make sure everyone gets to their final destination safely.

10:00am: We have a full load for the 11:20am. Cars are being processed into the lot for loading while repairs and dock testing are being completed so that the ferry is able to make an on-time departure at 11:20am.

Sailing load status for remainder of the day: 1:30pm from South Baymouth and 3:40pm from Tobermory are 100% full.
We will begin accepting more reservations for the 5:50pm & 10:00pm from South Baymouth, and the 8pm from Tobermory after 12noon.

7:00am:Chi-Cheemaun repairs are being finalized this morning. Testing at the dock should be completed by 9am - 9:30am. Upon successful completion of dock tests, the ship will re-start service with the 11:20am departure from Tobermory.

Updates will be posted here and on Twitter @ontarioferries until service has returned to normal.

Thank you for your continued patience.


7:00pm Update: The ferry repair has not held up and we must cancel the 8pm from Tobermory and 10pm from South Baymouth tonight. Tomorrow's 7:00am from Tobermory and 9:10am from South Baymouth have also been cancelled to allow for additional repairs to be completed. Customers with reservations on tomorrow's 7:00am and 9:10am are being called this evening to be re-booked for a sailing later in the day where space is available, or given the option to cancel with no penalty.

If you are travelling and did not leave a cellphone number as a contact, please call us at 1-800-265-3163 as soon as possible. Phone lines are open until 10pm.

We wish to thank all of our ferry customers for their patience through this cancellation event. We are working very hard to get everyone where they need to be as quickly as possible.

12:52pm Update: The ferry has been repaired and we will be operating the 3:40pm and 8pm from Tobermory and the 5:50pm and 10pm from South Baymouth as scheduled.

Tobermory Departures: We are taking the 7am and 11:20am reservations who have waited on the 3:40pm, and filling any available space with stand-by traffic who had reserved for 3:40pm. We have called all the contact numbers for the 3:40pm reservations and have re-booked many travellers on the 8pm.

South Baymouth Departures: The 9:10am and 1:30pm reservation holders who have elected to wait will be accommodated on the 5:50pm ferry along with those who had previously reserved for a 5:50pm crossing.

We are pleased to offer the 8pm and 10pm ferry crossings tonight to ALL ferry customers at 50% off, in appreciation for their patience while we worked through this very rare occurrence of a mechanical disruption to the service. We wish all of our guests a very enjoyable Canada Day and extra long weekend.

8:00am News:Due to a mechanical issue, the Chi-Cheemaun ferry crossings at 7am and 11:20am from Tobermory, and 9:10am and 1:30pm from South Baymouth have been cancelled. Repairs are underway and we hope to be back in service for the 3:40pm and 8pm from Tobermory and the 5:50pm and 10pm from South Baymouth.

Please do NOT make on-line reservations today for TODAY's ferry crossings only. Any reservation made today for today's crossings will not be honoured as we are working to move all of the previously reserved traffic first.

Persons with reservations on the 3:40pm from Tobermory are being contacted to be advised that their travel has been delayed until the 8pm departure, and are being provided with a 50% discount on their travel as appreciation for their patience.

Persons with reservations on the 7am and 11:20am from Tobermory and the 9:10am and 1:30pm from South Baymouth are being accommodated on an arrival basis.

You may call 1-800-265-3163 for additional information. We thank you for your patience as our phone lines are very busy.

Dining & Entertainment Cruise Schedule for 2015

Chi-Cheemaun presents an All Canadian Dining & Entertainment Cruise Menu:

Friday, June 12 Trent Severn Band in live concert
Wednesday, July 8 An Evening with TOM featuring live musical performance by Charlie Glasspool and screening of "Chimo" by OSC Media House
Wednesday, July 15 The Fretless in live concert
Wednesday, Aug 19 the incomparable Digging Roots in live concert
Friday, September 18, Maple Blues award winning MacKenzie Blues Band in live concert

Reservations are required. $50 per person for cruise, dinner and concert. Call 800-265-3163 before all tickets are sold out!

For more information: Click here to go to Chi-Cheemaun's Facebook page.

OSTC is accepting applications for the position of:

Full Time Summer Student
Location: OSTC Tourism Office-Ferry Reservations (Owen Sound)
Qualifications: Enthusiastic secondary student, with strong customer service skills, to work in busy a travel/tourism office. Reception, tourism info, data entry, attention to detail, team player, and ability to communicate in French an asset.
Apply in person or send resume and cover letter to:

2015 Frequent Sailor Loyalty Cards
Frequent Sailor Loyalty Cards are transferrable between family members. Cards are colour coded according to the size of the vehicle, and can be used for up to 3 different vehicles of the same size, per family or business, including of trailers. Please note that you will receive 2 stamps on your vehicle card if you are towing a trailer, regardless of trailer size, and the free crossing you earn may only be applied to the vehicle.

BLUE: Vehicles less than 14'(length) and 5.5'(height)
RED: Vehicles between 14' and 20' (length) and 5.5'(height)
GREEN: Large Commercial vehicles

Request your card from the Terminal Ticket Booth Agent on your first crossing of the season. Take 9 one-way trips and the 10th trip (for one vehicle) is FREE. No carry-over to next season. Simple, right?
For more information, ask at the Ticket booth in Tobermory or South Baymouth, or call 1-800-265-3163.
Marine Engineer Opportunities at Pelee Island Transportation:
OSTC is seeking qualified applicants for Marine Engineer Officer Positions at the Pelee Island Transportation Service on Lake Erie.

Click here for more information and application requirements.

Ferry Season 2015 to begin on Tuesday, May 5 due to ice on Georgian Bay
Due to ice conditions on Georgian Bay, The 2015 ferry season will begin on Tuesday, May 5, not Friday, May 1 as planned.

The delay also means that the Annual Spring Cruise between Owen Sound and Tobermory will take place on Monday, May 4. All customers who have pre-purchased tickets for the Cruise will be contacted.

OSTC apologizes for any inconvenience the change may cause for our customers.

Media Release - 2015 ferry start date
Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory wins Sponsoprship for 2015 Chi-Cheemaun Annual Spring Cruise
OSTC is pleased to announce that the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory is the winner of the 2015 Spring Cruise, now scheduled to sail on Monday, May 4. The BPBO will be on board Chi-Cheemaun and will bring with them opportunities for passengers to learn more about the organization and the important role it plays in our region.

2015 Spring Cruise Tickets available for advance purchase

NEW DATE!! Tickets for the Monday, May 4, Chi-Cheemaun 2015 Spring Cruise to Tobermory are available at the Owen Sound Transportation Company office in Springmount.
$49.75 per person for cruise & bus; $10.25 for on-board buffet. Call 1-800-265-3163 to reserve yours!

We also have tickets for the not-to-be-missed Scenic City Order of Good Cheer 4 hour Dinner Cruise w/Entertainment, sailing on NEW DATE!!! Saturday, May 2, 2015: $75.00/per person

And for the history buff in your family, pick up a copy of "The Motorist's Shortcut: 100 years of the Owen Sound Transportation Company", by local author Richard Thomas. $25.00 each.