Coast Guard: 144 passengers transferred from stranded Mackinac ferry

Vessel was returning from Mackinac Island

This Sept. 23, 2012 photo shows the ferry to Mackinac Island, Mich., and the Round Island Lighthouse, which dates to the 1890s but is no longer a functioning lighthouse. The picturesque lighthouse once marked the channel between Round Island and Mackinac. The ferry brings visitors to Mackinac, a vacation destination known for Victorian charm in modern times. (Anick Jesdanun, (AP Photo/Anick Jesdanun))

The Great Lakes Coast Guard and others responded to a stranded passenger ferry in the Straits of Mackinac on Tuesday night.

In a tweet, USCG Great Lakes said a ferry from Star Line Ferry with passengers aboard “apparently lost steering off Mackinaw City while on its way from the island,” sometime around 6 p.m. on Tuesday night.

USCG said the ferry was currently “drifting slowly with the current and in no danger of grounding.”

An update posted at 8:40 p.m. said a local commercial vessel is enroute to transfer the passengers to St. Ignace.

And then, around 10 p.m., USCG said 144 passengers were transferred from the ferry to St. Ignace, while the four crew members stayed behind and waited for towing to arrive. A local commercial vessel that also serves Mackinac Island, the Senator, helped to transfer the passengers.

“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.”

Passengers ferries are frequently passing through the Straits, from Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island.

Related: Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry sold to Hoffmann family after 77 years


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Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.