VIDEO: Pelee Islander II Ready to Set Sail

The $40-million Pelee Islander II is set to take its maiden voyage

"I'm very happy to announce today that the new Pelee Islander II will officially go into service tomorrow morning, Saturday April 6th at 8am," says Provincial Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek.

Yurek along with local politicians made the announcement Friday and gave a tour of the state of the art vessel.

"There was no more taxpayers dollars spent into this," says Yurek.  "It was covered by warranty as they fixed up what might have gone wrong during the voyage up here but today it's ready to roll, ship safe and it's ready to take people starting tomorrow morning." 

Chatham-Kent Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls admits he called the ship a "used vessel" in the past, but Friday he had a change of heart.

"It is so so state of the art," he says  "I'm very very excited about all the passengers.  "It's been mentioned before that about 50,000 visitors visit the island annually and of course you see the state of the art with the navigation tools that they have and of course the engine and all the electrical, I'm very very excited.      

Former Pelee Island Mayor Rick Masse says he can't believe the day is finally here for the new ferry.

"We've been working on getting this vessel for 12-years and it was pretty hard to envision today 12-years ago," says Masse.  "For me personally I'm extremely excited because we needed to replace our beloved Pelee Islander."        

The ship arrived from Chile last summer.

It replaces the 60-year-old Pelee Islander and can carry up to 399 passengers, 34 cars or 16 cars and four tractor trailers.

The maiden voyage will be Saturday at 8am.