MANNS HARBOR - The N.C. Department of Transportation today christened a new Sound Class ferry, the Motor Vessel Swan Quarter. State Transportation Secretary Gene Conti was joined by other state and local officials at the special ceremony. Betsy Conti christened the vessel.
"This new ferry will help us further carry out our mission of connecting people and places," Conti said. "It will be an impressive addition to the Ferry Division's fleet and will be an ambassador for the great state of North Carolina."
The 220-foot long vessel will carry 50 vehicles and 300 passengers on the Pamlico Sound routes from Swan Quarter and Cedar Island to Ocracoke.
The $13 million contract was awarded in October 2009 to Orange Shipbuilding of Orange, Texas. The ferry was delivered to the shipyard in Manns Harbor in late October 2011.
The new vessel meets the Americans With Disabilities Act by featuring an ADA-compliant elevator, which as a 13 person capacity; moves 25 percent faster than existing Sound Class boats; meets Environmental Protection Agency standards for diesel emissions; and is the first of two sister ships that will join the division's existing four Sound Class ferries. It will continue the tradition of ferries being affiliated with state universities showing the Elon University colors and logo.
During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island routes carried more than 91,000 vehicles and 217,000 passengers between Ocracoke. The new vessel will go into service as soon as it receives its Certificate of Inspection from the U. S. Coast Guard.