New CATS ferry in a spot of trouble

13 May 2004

The newly completed fast ferry Spirit of Ontario I has arrived in Toronto for some maintenance work and promotional events. Canadian American Transportation Systems (CATS), the private company launching the high-speed ferry service on Lake Ontario, issued a statement late Tuesday afternoon saying that the 774 passenger, 238 car capacity ship would undergo repairs, modifications and engine work while there. The repair work is necessary because the Australian built vessel ran into a pier last month in New York City.

CATS officials declined to answer questions about the statement, which did not provide details about the maintenance work or how long the repairs would take. The company had hoped to begin regular passenger service between Rochester and Toronto on 1 May, but that startup date has been delayed indefinitely.

The maintenance work will be done by Austal Ships, the Australian shipbuilder, MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH, the German engine builder; and subcontractors. CATS has not yet taken over ownership of the vessel from Austal. The enforced delay will be used to ensure that all repairs, modifications and final inspections are made to CATS?s full and complete satisfaction. The ferry operator must also complete crew training and receive final certifications before a firm start date can be announced.

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