The vessel Elizabeth River Ferry VII US had to be evacuated due to smoke in its engine room. Coast Guard photo.

New Hampton Roads Ferry Boat Evacuated Due to Suspected Fire

A fire scare prompted a Hampton Roads ferry boat to be evacuated over the weekend. Thankfully, all passengers and crew emerged safely from the incident.

Coast Guard Sector Virginia say they received a distress call from Ferry Vessel Elizabeth River Ferry VII, which is one of two new ferries just put into service this year, as Chesapeake Bay Magazine reported back in February.

The ferry crew hailed the Coast Guard on Channel 16 reporting a fire on board with smoke coming from the engine room. The Coast Guard enlisted the Norfolk and Portsmouth fire departments for help. All passengers were safely evacuated. The ferry’s four crew members “took immediate damage control actions, effectively managing the situation until further help arrived,” the Coast Guard says.

An inspection later revealed that the smoke coming from the engine room was from a machinery problem, not an actual fire. Coast Guard Marine Investigators are looking into the cause.

The Coast Guard praises the preparedness of the crew and the emergency responders in bringing the incident to an uneventful end.

“The rapid response and effective collaboration between the Coast Guard and our port partners is critical to keeping our community safe,” says Captain Jennifer Stockwell, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Virginia. We commend the crew of the Elizabeth River Ferry VII for their decisive actions that ensured the safety of their passengers.”