Sombra Ferry owners sue the feds


The owners of the Bluewater Ferry are done waiting and have launched a lawsuit against the federal government.
According to co-owner Morgan Dalgety the legal action is the “final resort” stemming from ice damage in January that brought business at the international border crossing to a halt.
Dalgety said the fifth-generation business is headed to bankruptcy if money isn’t found.
“It’s a huge loss,“ Dalgety says. “We’re living on savings.”
According to Dalgety, a global navigational tool called the Automatic Identification System offers proof the Canadian Coast Guard is squarely to blame for the damage. Records show the icebreaker, the Samuel J. Risley, was travelling at 14 knots as it helped move ships through dense ice in the St. Clair River.
The speed limit there is 10 knots, Dalgety explains, adding the displaced ice ripped out the causeway.
“It had to go somewhere,” he said.
The Coast Guard has said publicly a gale-force north wind was responsible for pushing the ice into the structure, Dalgety says, but there is video proof the wind is coming from the south.
The Bluewater Ferry that connects Sombra to Marine City Michigan is busy. During peak times, two boats make around 60 trips a day across the St. Clair River.
Costs for fixing the damage continue to mount. Initial estimates set a rebuild — including demolition — at $1.5 million. But it’s edging closer to $3 million.