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Outer Banks channel clearing underway after dredge, ferry run aground close to Ocracoke – Day by day Press


Efforts started this week to clear sand buildup from a channel off Ocracoke Island after a dredge and a ferry turned caught this weekend, suspending ferry visitors and creating lengthy delays to and from the tiny Outer Banks group.

A dredge started operations Tuesday in Sloop Channel simply exterior the N.C. Ferry Division’s Ocracoke-South dock terminal, state transportation officers stated.

Shoaling, which is the shifting of sand bars and sediment attributable to waves and wind, has lengthy been a difficulty on ferry routes between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, however has change into extreme sufficient to choke Ocracoke off from Hatteras Island and the mainland a number of occasions this yr.

On Saturday morning, the Coast Guard was dispatched to the dredge that ran aground on the shoals in Sloop Channel. Once crews arrived, they discovered the state ferry “Chicamacomico” in the identical predicament, and wanted assist for a lady on board with extreme belly ache, the Coast Guard’s Hatteras Inlet station stated in a Facebook put up.

The Coast Guard pulled up alongside and transferred two crew members aboard the ferry to evaluate the scenario, then known as for an ambulance to satisfy them on the station.

Ferry crew lowered the sick passenger down of their deployable small boat, the place the Coast Guard introduced her onboard their vessel and took her to the station, the Coast Guard stated.

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By 3 p.m., the grounded dredge and ferry have been freed and the ferry resumed operations, solely to be suspended or delayed a number of occasions via Tuesday attributable to excessive winds or shoaling.

“Getting this urgent dredging operation underway has been a top priority for the ferry division for several months,” division director Harold Thomas stated in a information launch.

Once dredged, the ferry channel can be deeper and wider, which transportation officers say will result in the return of bigger ferries alongside the Hatteras-Ocracoke route the state had stopped utilizing attributable to shoaling and an growing old fleet. Larger ferries will carry extra individuals and vehicles every run, serving to to alleviate the congestion the route has confronted the final a number of weeks, NCDOT stated.

The ferry division can also be asking those that commute to Ocracoke for enterprise to keep away from peak journey occasions for vacationers.

“Most of the visitor traffic on the Hatteras route arrives after 9 a.m.,” division deputy director Jed Dixon stated within the launch. “If we can clear the larger vendor vehicles before that time, it would allow us to carry more of the tourist traffic in a timely manner.”

The Hatteras-Ocracoke route switched to its spring schedule on April 12, growing the variety of scheduled day by day departures from 18 to 26 from all sides.

Kari Pugh, kari.pugh@virginiamedia.com



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