Coast Guard assists Mackinac Island ferry that lost steering in Straits

Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay file photo by Daniel R. Michelson

Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay file photo by Daniel R. Michelson

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. — The Coast Guard and others responded Tuesday in the Straits of Mackinac after a Mackinac Island ferry with 144 passengers and four crewmembers aboard lost steering while on its way from the island.

The Star Line ferry Huron lost steering about 6 p.m. and was subsequently unable to deploy its anchor. The vessel drifted slowly toward St. Ignace and was in no danger of grounding as Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay, which was breaking ice nearby, diverted to assist.

A local commercial vessel that also serves Mackinac Island, the Senator, responded as well, meeting the disabled ferry and taking all of its passengers aboard. The passengers were safely transported to St. Ignace, while the four Huron crewmembers stayed aboard their vessel and Katmai Bay stood by while towing arrangements were finalized.

“Tonight’s incident can serve as a reminder that life on the Great Lakes is far from predictable,” said Lt. Tyler Carslgaard of Sector Sault Ste. Marie. “Fortunately good cooperation and simple precautions like making sure everyone on board was wearing a life jacket helped everyone get home safely.”

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