Seastreak Accident: Coast Guard Records Show Other Incidents

Thursday, 10 Jan 2013 11:54 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Wednesday's commuter ferry crash in Manhattan that left 85 injured was the 10th incident involving Seastreak ferries since 2007, according to U.S. Coast Guard records uncovered by the New York Daily News.

In August 2009, the same Seastreak ferry involved in Wednesday's accident — the Seastreak Wall Street — also collided with a different Manhattan dock, resulting in a 2-foot hole along the starboard but no injuries. Inspectors concluded that the helm control didn't function properly.

Five months later, in January 2010, the same ferry slammed into a cluster of fender pilings — floating bumpers used to absorb the energy of a vessel — smashing a hole several feet above the boat's waterline. The Coast Guard didn't specify what caused the accident.

Other recent incidents involving Seastreak ferries included the boats running aground on a sand bar and hitting various submerged objects in waterways around New York City.

In addition to its New York commuter service, Seastreak operates a seasonal ferry service between New Bedford, Mass., and the ports of Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard, according to the company's website.

Seastreak is a sister company of Moran Towing Co., the Interlake Steamship Company, and Mormac Marine Group. Moran is the largest tug and barge operator on the East and Gulf Coasts, the company says, and Interlake Steamship owns and operates nine self-unloading bulk vessels on the Great Lakes.

Meanwhile, passengers spoke about Wednesday's Seastreak ferry accident in New York. 

"The boat slowed down, and the next thing I know, it just slammed and everybody went down," said Brian Hickey of Rumson, N.J. in an interview with the Asbury Park Press. "No one saw it coming,"

The same article detailed a similar experience by Anthony Bianco of Highlands, N.J.

"All of a sudden, there was a really loud bang, a thunderous noise. Then I was on the ground," said Bianco, who noted the boat had slowed down prior to impact. "We weren't going full speed. If we had been, it would have been a much different accident."

According to the New York Times, the Seastreak ferry with 326 passengers aboard was moving at between 11 and 16 miles per hour when it hit a loading barge in Lower Manhattan, near Wall Street.

The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the crash, including whether ferry maintenance issues played a role, according to CBS New York.

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