Ferry Islander laid to rest in ship graveyard

Ferry Islander laid to rest in ship graveyard

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A chance encounter turned up the sad remains of the beloved vessel in the shoals between Staten Island and New Jersey.

The ferry Islander, in her final resting place in a ship graveyard off Staten Island, New York. — Courtesy Nicole Dib/TheEscapeBoat.com

It’s a sight that may bring a tear to the eye of many who traveled to and from Martha’s Vineyard aboard her, but the M/V Islander has made her final voyage to a “ship graveyard” off Staten Island.

Most of the beloved vessel was cut up for scrap metal in a New Jersey salvage shipyard over the past year. But Nicole Dib, who writes a blog called The Escape Boat stumbled upon what’s left of the Islander’s hull while exploring a little known and difficult to find spot off the southwestern shore of Staten Island.

There, in the tidal flats, she found the hull of the Islander lying among dozens of other ship carcasses. The hull and the freight deck appear intact, along with a small portion of the vessel’s central support structure, but the rest of the ferry is gone. The ship’s name and hail port are still visible.

John Wagenseil, a seaman who worked aboard Steamship Authority ferries from 1975 to 1981, saw a picture of the ferry online and sent it to The Times.

The Islander crossed between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard for more than half a century. In 2007, she was replaced by the Island Home, the two vessels passing in Vineyard Haven Harbor as part of an elaborate retirement celebration.

The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, the corporation responsible for Governors Island in New York City, bought the 770-passenger ferry for $500,000. In 2009, the organization put the ferry on the Internet auction block rather than pay an estimated $6 million for needed maintenance and repairs.

Don Slovak, a farmer and trucker from the town of Valatie, N. Y., just east of the Hudson River and about 15 miles south of Albany, placed the winning bid on eBay for the Islander, but his plan to sell the ferry whole or in parts collapsed. The state would not release the ferry from the shipyard where it was moored. In the end, she was junked.


  1. Gee, that looks alot better than the ARK that was suppose to be long gone on Bock’s lot in VH! I am so sick of seeing that mess still. Whats up VH selectmen?

    1. Just turn your head a little as you drive by. Your neck could use some exercise.

      1. Please thomas you can do better than that. I have been turning my head for a couple years now! For somebody with such love for his trade and the sea he cares nothing about us who do not share his enthusiasm for destroying our view of the sea by blocking it with a depressing condemned looking nightmare in our island’s port town. Am I really out of line because I should care about his and your feelings while you all care nothing about ours?

        ………………… http://www.mvtimes.com/2013/09/25/ted-box-announces-that-seeker-will-move-new-home-by-november-15-17440/

        1. There was hardly a good view to begin with. Everyone I know has enjoyed watching the progress of that vessel being constructed. Much better than an empty lot.

        2. I specially took the time to drive the length of Beach Road this AM, and noted, among other things, that the boat build shelter is now almost completely disassembled. That’s progess, if you don’t like the boat project going on there. On rest of the trip along the road I admired all the rest of the “ugly” on Beach Road, and will suggest that there’s a lot more that’s way uglier than the boat-in-progress project, if you want to get your dander up about what the edge of the harbor looks like. If you want any complaints from me about “depressing condemned looking nightmares in our island’s port town”, they sure won’t be in regards to that craft. In short, if you’re so highly offended by that boat project, it’s possible that you’re actually mad about something other than esthetics.

          1. I would bet that most coming to Martha’s Vineyard are interested by the boat being built…as opposed to being disgusted by the other buildings in the area that range from very poorly maintained to dilapidated.

  2. If this is the Arthur Kill, it’s the same ship graveyard with the remains of the New Bedford, which served the Islands before WWII.

  3. So the Islander would have cost 6-8 million to renovate.
    And the SSA goes and buys new boats in the 35 to 50 million dollar range?
    Hello, needlessly higher fares on the ferries.

  4. I harbor many fond memories of being rocked to sleep during early morning ferry rides on the Islander. May she RIP