Dehcho

MV Lafferty, stuck mid-river for days, safely brought to shore

Last modified: November 5, 2020 at 2:50pm


A ferry stranded in the Dehcho’s fast-freezing Liard River since Monday was safely moved ashore Wednesday night.

The crew of the MV Lafferty, stuck in the water outside Fort Simpson since an engine failed on Monday, had earlier been rescued with the help of specialists dispatched from Yellowknife.

The NWT’s Department of Infrastructure on Thursday confirmed the vessel has since been safely docked after languishing 200 metres from shore for more than two days.

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The ferry sustained $500 worth of damage to its steering pump.

“With the seasons changing quickly and temperatures dropping, it was important to move the vessel ashore to prevent further damage,” a spokesperson for the territory said.

The ferry, which usually transports people and vehicles to and from Fort Simpson, became trapped in the ice on Monday – a day after its season ended – while being taken to its resting spot for the winter.

Three people on the ferry since Monday were rescued on Wednesday. All were said to be in good condition.

Alex Perrett, commander of specialist firm Arctic Response’s rescue team, said that operation was “relatively straightforward.”

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“It all worked out pretty well. I’m just happy everyone’s off the boat,” he told Cabin Radio on Wednesday.

New crew members boarded the vessel as the initial employees were rescued, as the ferry must remain staffed while on the river.

All crew members have since returned to their homes “after a long few days,” according to the territory.

Ferry crew members were rescued from the MV Lafferty and a line attached to the vessel. Photo: Alex Perrett

Wednesday’s plan involved securing a line to the ferry, then using that to gradually move the vessel toward the shore.

The captain was able to manoeuvre the ferry using its own power once it got closer to the shore.

The process of retrieving the ship had been delayed by poor weather.

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