Coal-fired SS Badger ferry returns to service

The last coal-fired, steam-powered passenger ferry in North America is back in service.

HTR Media report the SS Badger sounded its horns just after noon Friday as it entered Maritime Bay in Manitowoc on its first crossing of Lake Michigan of the 2014 season with paying passengers.

The Badger had already undergone a shakedown cruise following the installation of more than $1 million in upgrades over the offseason to reduce its coal ash discharges into Lake Michigan. The ferry is obligated under an agreement between its owner and federal regulators to end the dumping before the 2015 season.

The 410-foot ship, launched in 1952, travels between Manitowoc and Ludington, Michigan. It can carry 600 passengers and 180 vehicles. It offers a four-hour cruise across 60 miles of open water.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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