Updated 10:50 am, Monday
The Steamship Authority has resumed normal operations, General Manager Wayne Lamson reported.
Updated 9:30 pm, Sunday
Wayne Lamson, Steamship Authority general manager:
“The Steamship Authority will not be resuming service on Monday until the U.S. Coast Guard has had an opportunity to survey the waterways and determine they are suitable for navigation.
“All ports in the southeastern New England region were closed Saturday afternoon by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England. The Steamship Authority will not be resuming service on Monday until it receives permission to do so by the Captain of the Port for U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England.
“All ports in the region are closed to vessel traffic and will remain closed until the waterways, including Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound, have been surveyed for floating debris fields and it has been determined that all ‘aids to navigation’ are in their proper positions. The U.S. Coast Guard is planning to begin the overflight from Air Station Cape Cod at 6:30 am on Monday.
“A further travel advisory update will be issued by the Steamship Authority as soon as the ports have been reopened by the U.S. Coast Guard or we have received express permission from the Captain of the Port to resume service.”
Mr. Lamson told The Times he does not expect to resume service until 7 am or 8 am, Monday.
The Steamship Authority advises its customers to check the Authority’s website, www.steamshipauthority.com, for the latest updates and information as to when service is expected to resume.
Updated 6:30 pm, Saturday
The Steamship Authority is suspending all ferry service on Sunday due to Hurricane Irene, SSA General Manager Wayne Lamson announced in a travel advisory.
“The Steamship Authority expects to complete all of its scheduled trips on both the Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket routes through the end of the day on Saturday.
“The Steamship Authority is suspending all ferry service for both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket on Sunday as Hurricane Irene passes through western New England. Tropical storm force winds are expected to arrive in our area before daybreak on Sunday, with the possibility of hurricane force wind during the afternoon.
“U.S Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England is expected to reopen all of the ports in the southeastern New England region on Monday. The Authority anticipates that it will be resuming its normal operating schedule as soon as the ports are reopened on Monday.
“The Steamship Authority advises its customers to check the Authority’s website, www.steamshipauthority.com, for the latest updates and information as to when service is expect to resume.”
In a conference call Friday, Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson told Island emergency planners that based on the timing and track of hurricane Irene it does not appear the boatline will operate on Sunday.
Mr. Lamson said that vehicle owners with reservations affected by cancellations would have priority when service resumes on Monday based on the order of cancellations.
He said the Martha’s Vineyard High School may be used to stage vehicles depending on the degree of congestion at the Vineyard Haven terminal. The status of the Oak Bluffs terminal would depend on weather and sea conditions he said.
“We will have to play it trip by trip,” he said.
The SSA issued a travel advisory at 5 pm, Friday.
“The two freight vessels normally used on the Woods Hole-Martha’s Vineyard route will be transferred to the Authority’s vessel maintenance facility in Fairhaven starting mid-afternoon on Saturday, which will result in the cancellation of six trips from Martha’s Vineyard. The two passenger/vehicle ferries on the Woods Hole-Martha’s Vineyard route, the M/V Island Home and M/V Martha’s Vineyard, are expected to complete their normal operating schedules on Saturday. The M/V Governor is providing extra service again on Saturday to help with the backlog of passengers with their vehicles trying to return from the island, many with reservations for Sunday.”
An earlier advisory was issued at 11:34 am Thursday.
“The Steamship Authority is anticipating that its ferry service for the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket will be temporarily suspended during the day on Sunday, August 28, due to expected weather and sea conditions associated with the effects of Hurricane Irene,” the SSA said. ” Once service has been suspended, the Authority does not expect to resume service until sometime on Monday, August 29.
“The Steamship Authority is planning to eventually send three ferries to its vessel maintenance facility in Fairhaven prior to the closing of the New Bedford Harbor hurricane barrier by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The other vessels in its fleet will tie up at its more sheltered ferry terminals in Vineyard Haven, Hyannis and Nantucket.
“In the meantime, the Steamship Authority is running extra trips between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard as well as between Hyannis and Nantucket in anticipation that ferry service will most likely be suspended during the later part of the upcoming weekend and possibly into Monday morning.
“There is still a lot of uncertainty as to the projected track, timing and intensity of hurricane Irene. The Steamship Authority is continuing to monitor the progress of pending storm and will issue further travel advisories and updates over the next several days as revised forecasts are released by the National Weather Service.”