Mechanical issues on two different Steamship Authority vessels led to the cancellation and delay of round trips on the Vineyard route Tuesday, forcing the boat line to shuffle ferries as both the M/V Nantucket and it’s replacement, the M/V Woods Hole, experienced dockside problems.
The issues for the ferry line began in the morning, when the M/V Nantucket experienced a problem with its generator, according to an email from SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll.
“One of the two generators on the M/V Nantucket failed to start properly,” Mr. Driscoll wrote. “The generator was able to be started by vessel personnel without issue while the vessel was berthed in Woods Hole, but the crews did due diligence to examine the system before the Coast Guard cleared it to sail for its 9:30 a.m. departure from Woods Hole.”
The 9:30 a.m. trip left approximately 40 minutes late. Although there were no morning cancellations, the vessel was replaced by the M/V Woods Hole for two round trips, leading to delays on most of the morning crossings, including trips originating from the Vineyard that had to wait for a vessel berth in Woods Hole.
But the day’s mechanical issues didn’t end there. The M/V Woods Hole, meanwhile, had an engine alarm sound while it was docked in Woods Hole prior to its 1:15 p.m. departure, Mr. Driscoll wrote.
“The trip was canceled to allow the crews to investigate,” Mr. Driscoll said. ‘Following a system restart, the alarm did not reoccur and the vessel was cleared to sail by the Coast Guard.”
The issues with the Woods Hole to one cancelled round trip (the 1:15 pm departure from Woods Hole, 2:30 p.m. departure from Vineyard Haven), but the vessel made its 3:45 p.m. trip as scheduled, according to Steamship Authority notices.
Meanwhile, the M/V Woods Hole vessel was operating in place of the M/V Island Home, which incidentally also faced mechanical problems on Tuesday.
In his email, Mr. Driscoll wrote that the Island Home went to Fairhaven for a “short repair period,” although he did not expound on its issues. The Island Home has been sidelined multiple times in the past two months for mechanical issues.
On Monday, the SSA also reported that an employee at the Woods Hole terminal tested positive for Covid-19. The terminal employee last worked on Friday, March 19, Mr. Driscoll wrote. The SSA does not identify employees who test positive for the virus.
“The employee subsequently felt ill and received a test for COVID-19; after receiving the positive result on Sunday, March 21, 2021, the employee immediately notified the Authority,” Mr. Driscoll said. “Those employees who were identified as being in close contact with the individual have been notified and will not be allowed to return to work until after a negative test result is received or until they are cleared to work by a medical professional.”
Steamship authority employees are now eligible to receive vaccinations as part of the state’s expanded vaccine eligibility. In a statement to the Gazette, Mr. Driscoll said the SSA was encouraging employees to receive shots. He added that separate clinics for regional transportation employees were in the works as well.
“We are working with the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment about arranging clinics for our personnel in both Falmouth and Hyannis, which we hope to open up to regional transit providers as well; we are also working to arrange similar efforts for our island-based employees,” Mr. Driscoll said.