UPDATE Friday 10 March 4PM
**Daintree Ferry on track for Tuesday re-opening**
The Daintree Ferry is on track to re-open by 5am Tuesday with repairs to the vessel’s hull progressing well.
Crews are finishing various maintenance tasks on the vessel to ensure a safe continuity of access across the Daintree River for locals and visitors.
Council has a team of staff and contractors who have worked non-stop since the vessel stopped operating at 12.01am on Monday 6 March 2023 and are working to re-open the ferry crossing as soon as possible.
A further update will be posted by 5pm Monday.
The Daintree Ferry will remain closed until at least 5am Tuesday next week due to the discovery of excessive corrosion underneath the vessel.
Onsite specialist crews will now be required to complete additional welding and painting to ensure the vessel can safely operate and provide a continuous service across the Daintree River for now and into the future.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was conducting its five-yearly, out-of-water safety inspection when it discovered the excessive corrosion on the vessel’s hull.
The inspector advised the damaged hull needs to be repaired before an operating certificate is issued and the ferry can safely return to the water.
Douglas Shire Council has a team of staff and contractors working around the clock to ensure the vessel can return to the water as quickly as possible.
Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said Council has acted swiftly to implement processes it had in place if this issue was to occur.
“Our team has immediately gone into action to re-organise the works schedule and allow the required contractors to get this fixed,” he said.
“Safety, and ensuring we have a continuing service is paramount for the longevity of this crossing while Council works on the future solution.”
“We are obligated to repair this critical public transport service and ensure a safe river crossing for the residents, tourists and economic sustainability of the region.”
“We know extending the closure will inconvenience many people who are relying on a ferry service this weekend and appreciate their continued patience and support as we progress as quickly as possible with these essential repairs.”
The repairs required have increased the scope of works beyond what can be done within the scheduled five days. Council anticipated repair work would be required; however, the extent of that work could not be known until the vessel was out of the water and inspected.
Welding, painting, and re-floating the vessel also needs to be co-ordinated with high tides.
At high tide from 11am on Monday morning, Council is striving to re-float the vessel which will take several hours.
Once the vessel is re-floated, further works to connect the cables, safety checks and commissioning activities are required before the it can return to its normal operations.
To ensure the safety inspection is efficiently completed, the vessel is receiving ongoing inspections by the AMSA representative during the repair period.
Mayor Kerr said ensuring the Daintree Ferry was safe for locals and visitors was paramount.
“The ferry is a workhorse that runs 19 hours on every day of the year, transporting about 230,000 vehicle movements between the southern bank of the river and the world’s oldest rainforest,” he said.
If the vessel can’t be re-floated on Monday morning, the next opportunity to put the vessel back in the water will be at high tide on Thursday morning next week, and we ask those businesses relying on the crossing to be attentive to that.
Travellers also need to be mindful that any rainfall over the next few days could also impede painting and cause further delays.
While no significant rainfall is forecast, Council is working closely with the Bureau of Meteorology to monitor weather forecasts and river conditions.
Council will provide a further update by 5pm Friday 10 March 2023.
Please check Council’s Facebook page for the most up to date information regarding the Daintree Ferry closure.