Twenty-three passengers on the 10:30 a.m. ferry from Ocracoke Monday were transferred to U.S. Coast Guard response boat after the ferry got stuck in a shoal near Hatteras.
The North Carolina Ferry System’s ferry Roanoke ran “soft aground” around 11:30 a.m.in an ebbing tide, according to Tim Hass, Ferry Division spokesperson.
There were 16 vehicles, 23 passengers and seven crew members aboard. The Coast Guard was notified at 2:20 p.m. according to their press release.
No injuries were reported, and at no time were passengers or crew members in any danger, Hass said.
One of the division’s tug boats, the Albemarle was sent to free the Roanoke from the shoal. Once that process is complete, the Roanoke was to be towed to the Hatteras terminal to unload vehicles and be inspected for any damage.
However, ferry crews managed to free the vessel before the tug arrived.
At the time of the grounding, winds were from the southeast at 20 to 25 knots with gusts to 30. Low tide was a little after midnight today.
Hass said the grounding occurred around channel marker #12.
“They had come through the Barney Slough (the long, natural channel) and had just made the turn toward Hatteras,” he said. “There’s a little bit of a choke point there.”
When ferries run aground, that doesn’t halt all traffic, he said, although the division did miss a couple of runs.
Hass also said that it’s not mandatory for passengers to depart a ferry when these things happen.
Plans are being developed to refloat the ferry.