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S.S. Badger cancels Monday trek amid electrical issue

Aya Fayad
The Detroit News

The S.S. Badger, the ferry that shuttles cars and other vehicles back and forth across Lake Michigan, was expected to return to service Tuesday after it remained in Ludington on Monday as the ship's engineers and electricians continue to make repairs related to an electrical issue.

On Saturday afternoon, after departing Manitowoc, Wisconsin, an electrical issue arose while the ship was headed to Ludington. The problem was quickly identified and addressed, allowing the ship to continue its cross-lake operation safely, according to a statement posted on the S.S. Badger Facebook page.

"The Badger's engineers are working around the clock to complete the repair. The problem has been isolated and once the repair is complete the ship will resume its normal sailing schedule," said Lake Michigan Carferry spokesman Thom Hawley in a statement.

The electrical issue came nearly two months after the S.S. Badger began operations again following an almost 10-month halt due to a mechanical failure.

Due to the electrical issue, the ship arrived late on Saturday to Ludington, and the evening departure to Manitowoc was cancelled. Lake Michigan Carferry personnel were working with passengers impacted by the cancellation, S.S. Badger officials said in a Facebook post.

Hawley added: "LMC apologizes for the inconvenience to passengers, and we are working with those who have been impacted by this incident."

Designated a National Historic Landmark, the Badger was built in 1953 by Christy Corp. in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for C&O Railway Co.

It once carried railcars between Ludington and Manitowoc. It can accommodate 600 passengers and 180 vehicles, including RVs, motorcycles, motor coaches and commercial trucks.

The ferry carries passengers on a four-hour journey across the 60-mile shortcut passage on Lake Michigan.

The Badger's latest issue comes after one of the towers alongside the ramp that carries vehicles onto the Badger unexpectedly failed last summer. The ramp for the Badger, which was built as a railroad-car ferry, weighs about 250 tons.

The S.S. Badger is expected to return to its normal operating schedule departing from Ludington at 9 a.m. Tuesday.