Steamship diverted O.B. trips for dock repairs

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The barge Triton out of New Bedford was at Oak Bluffs Monday fixing a rubber fender that slipped off a dolphin where the Steamship Authority ties off its ferries. — George Brennan

Trips between Woods Hole and Oak Bluffs were diverted to Vineyard Haven for two days this week, but it had nothing to do with the weather.

A rubber fender on one of the pilings (also known as a dolphin) at the Oak Bluffs ferry slip slid off, causing a potential safety problem for docking ferries, Bob Davis, general manager for the Steamship Authority, told The Times.

A crew from New Bedford was brought in to fix it. Initially, Mr. Davis said he hoped trips would resume Monday afternoon, but the work continued into Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Oak Bluffs terminal was back in service.

Meanwhile, the Steamship Authority also had a problem with the Island Home ferry on Saturday. The SSA’s largest ferry was about 100 yards out of Woods Hole making its 1:15 pm trip when the crew noticed a problem with the vessel’s steering, Mr. Davis said.

The Island Home returned to port, the passengers were removed, and the cars and trucks had to back off the vessel.

The problem was narrowed down to a problem with a switch, Mr. Davis said.

The vessel missed its 1:15 trip, but returned to service at 3:45 pm. Cars and vehicles scheduled on the 1:15 pm trip were added to other ferries scheduled that afternoon, including the Sankaty, the Governor, and the Nantucket, Mr. Davis said.

He praised the efforts by the crew of the Island Home and SSA employees to recognize the issue and get passengers onto other ferries to the Island.