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The North Carolina Ferry Division will christen a new vehicle ferry on the Hatteras-Ocracoke route, the M/V Rodanthe, Friday (June 28) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hatteras Ferry Terminal.

Hyde County Manager Kristen Cahoon Noble will do the christening honors for this new river class ferry, which is larger and will carry more vehicles than the one it is replacing, the M/V Thomas A. Baum.

The latter boat will continue to be used at Hatteras Inlet until its retirement in 2021.

The Rodanthe is one of two new river class ferries in the works, Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas had told the Observer last year.

Eventually, the smaller boats will be phased out.

The Rodanthe will sport the strutting wolf of NC State, said Jed Dixon, Deputy Ferry Division director, in a Tweet. “In long standing tradition, each of the N.C. ferries have a North Carolina university affiliation,” he said.

Festivities tomorrow will also celebrate the launch of the Ocracoke Express passenger ferry service, which began May 20 and will continue until Sept. 5. The passenger ferry has served nearly 10,000 passengers in just over five weeks of operation.

Rep. John A. Torbett (R-Gaston) will attend the event and speak, Noble said on Thursday. Torbett, who is chair of the House Transportation Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in obtaining this walk-on ferry.

During budget meetings in early April, he revealed that transportation officials were looking into alternatives for Ocracoke since the passenger ferry being built in Hubert had failed Coast Guard inspections in February and an idle passenger ferry located in New Jersey was available.

Torbett later told the Observer that he asked Secretary of the Department of Transportation James Trogden to pay for leasing a passenger ferry for Ocracoke out of the DOT budget.

Parking for the event is available at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum adjacent to the ferry terminal. Attendees are requested not to park in the passenger ferry parking lot.

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