Ferry vessel

Dear Residents,

I want to recognize your enduring patience as you await updates regarding the status of the Amherst Islander II. I acknowledge and understand the frustration you feel when faced with a lack of information. However, I want to assure you that Council and staff remain committed to providing accurate information to residents whenever possible. Moving forward, more routine updates should be expected.

At this moment in time, staff have been working to prepare the update below, with MTO approval, and it outlines some of the important steps being taken to prepare for the in-service of the Amherst Islander II.

I invite residents to contact me directly with any additional questions or concerns regarding the update, and I will respond as best as I can.

Yours in service,

Nathan Townend

Deputy Mayor

Amherst Islander II Ramp Update:

In fall 2023, MTO advised Loyalist Township that a local contractor had been authorized to complete repair work on the Wolfe Islander IV ramp which was damaged earlier in the fall. Repair work is expected to be completed by early 2024, after which the original ramp from the Amherst Islander II will be returned and reinstalled. MTO is also working on procuring a new ramp from Damen Shipyards which will be kept as a spare for future requirements of both new vessels.

Warranty Upgrades/Deficiencies:

MTO is currently working with Damen to rectify outstanding deficiencies which are covered under Damen’s original warranty. This work has started and is expected to finish in 2024. The Damen deficiency repairs may require periodic out-of-service periods for work to be completed.


Over the last many months, staff members have been completing specialized courses at Georgian College to meet Transport Canada requirements to work on Amherst Islander II. Some of these courses have limited availability. Township staff have been working with Georgian College to open additional sessions to expedite training for some of the required courses. It is expected that most of the staff members will complete their required courses by February 2024.

It is expected that the onboard crew training on the Amherst Islander II will start early in 2024. Sea time, as set by Transport Canada, both without and with passengers on the route is required before staff members with limited licences can take their onboard exams. It is anticipated to take a few months for staff members to accumulate the required sea time and ensure that their licence is upgraded and/or meets the requirements to operate on the Amherst Islander II.

The timelines could be impacted since much of the training is expected to take place during winter, which can produce rougher waters and delay training opportunities. Some key components of the training program include vessel familiarization, safety training, and minimum sea time requirements. To facilitate required training, arrangement of contract crews is necessary to ensure the continued operation of the Frontenac II while Loyalist staff members are training on Amherst Islander II. Adjustments to the existing dock fenders are also required to accommodate both the Frontenac II and Amherst Islander II vessels at the same time.

As previously announced by MTO, an additional $400,000 has been promised to assist with staffing resources necessary to operate the existing Amherst Island ferry service, allowing Loyalist Township staff members to complete the required onboard training as identified above.

While we are very pleased with a clear path forward, it is not possible to predict an exact in-service date at this time. Loyalist Township and MTO are committed to communicating updates and timelines as we continue this process. We are working hard to see the new vessel carry passengers as soon as possible. We want to thank residents and users for their continued patience and trust.