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Wednesday, July 1, 2020 

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has completed a new vessel for Washington Island Ferry Line for service to the Washington Island community across the Death’s Door Passage.

The new ferry, named Madonna, measures 124ft length, 40ft beam, and 9ft draught. It has a capacity for up to 28 vehicles and 150 passengers, and is the largest vessel in the Washington Island Ferry Fleet, allowing crews to operate a spacious second ferry with year-round capabilities.

“We are very happy to have our latest ferry, completed in less than one year, ready to sail this summer within our fleet,” said Washington Island Ferry Line President Hoyt Purinton. “The work that was completed within our Door County community has impressed us; and we are happy with our continued partnership with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. We look forward to operating the Madonna between the tip of the Door Peninsula and Washington Island’s Detroit Harbour for many years to come.”

Madonna joins four other vessels in the Washington Island Fleet, the Arni J Richter, the Eyrarbakki, the Robert Noble, and the Washington. All current vessels in the fleet were built in Sturgeon Bay.

“This is the third build we have completed for Washington Island Ferry Line,” said Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s VP and GM Todd Thayse. “All current ferry vessels were built in Sturgeon Bay – two by Peterson Builders,  and three by the talented women and men here at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. The work done on the new ferry has exemplified our quality and standards, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our workforce was able to stay on schedule for an on-time delivery, which is commendable during this challenging time.”

“Although we are all going through a challenging time during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are excited about the newest expansion to our fleet, which will enhance our service to the island community for generations to come.” said Purinton. “With a similar design to the Arni J Richter, which Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding built for us in 2003, the Madonna allows us to run a second, year-round ferry with icebreaking capabilities.”

Twin CAT-C32 main engines provide 1600bhp while its stainless propellers and shafts (and stout framing) make it ice-capable. In addition to its winter operational capabilities, the ferry offers added vehicle and passenger capacity throughout the year. Madonna has an overhead of 15ft, sufficient to transport high-clearance equipment and large oversized loads as needed.

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