A state-run ferry carrying passengers from the island of Vinalhaven to Rockland ran aground on a ledge Wednesday morning.

None of the 65 passengers and five crew were injured, but the Capt. Richard G. Spear ferry, which had just left Vinalhaven, was forced to return to Vinalhaven.

A ferry arrives at Vinalhaven in May 2018. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The ferry ran aground 10:30 a.m., Paul Merrill, spokesman for the Maine Department of Transportation, said in a release. The vessel returned to Vinalhaven to unload passengers before it was taken to a private marina in Rockland for inspection.

“There does not appear to be any significant damage to the hull of the vessel,” Merrill said. “As is the case with any grounding incident, the U.S. Coast Guard is investigating. The Maine State Ferry Service is cooperating fully with that investigation.”

Thursday ferry trips between Vinalhaven and Rockland will be handled by the Everett Libby ferry.

The Maine State Ferry Service serves six islands in Penobscot and Blue Hill bays, including Frenchboro, Islesboro, Matinicus, North Haven, Swan’s Island and Vinalhaven. There are ferry terminals based in Rockland, Bass Harbor and Lincolnville.

The Capt. Richard G. Spear is the newest vessel in the Maine State Ferry Service fleet. It was launched in 2021 from the Washburn & Doughty shipyard in East Boothbay where it was built, but it did not go into service until last year. The ferry is 154 feet long and 38 feet wide with capacity for 250 passengers and 23 vehicles. The total cost to build the vessel was about $10.9 million.

The ferry was named after Capt. Richard G. Spear, a Maine Maritime Academy graduate. He died in 2018 at the age of 96.

He was the first employee of the Maine State Ferry Service and was involved in creating both the old ferry terminal and the subsequent one that serves people traveling back and forth between Vinalhaven, North Haven and Matinicus islands. He served as ferry service manager for 30 years, retiring in 1989.

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