Martha’s Vineyard ferry suffers door problem

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The MV Martha's Vineyard was out of service Monday, but is being replaced by the MV Nantucket. - Rich Saltzberg

The woes for the MV Martha’s Vineyard, now back a month from its $17.5 million refurbishment, are continuing.

On Thursday night, one of the rollers for the bow doors on the ferry broke, Robert Davis, general manager for the Steamship Authority, wrote in an email to The Times. “The vessel continued to operate, but it required the loading and unloading be via the stern, as the bow door remained closed,” he wrote. “This morning our maintenance department was onsite to replace the roller. However, when the vessel was arriving, it was noticed that one of the pilings in Slip 2 had shifted, and there was a short delay as an assessment was made if the pile was in the way of the vessel docking.”

Once it was determined that the pile was not in the way, the ferry docked and the repair was made. The repairs, coupled with backing vehicles onto the boat, caused a delay this morning in Woods Hole. The Martha’s Vineyard left on its scheduled 7 am run at about 7:40 am.

“Ultimately our maintenance personnel were able to replace the roller during that docking, but we plan on inspecting the other rollers to make sure any issue is addressed,” Davis wrote.

A marine contractor also removed the “wayward pile” to make sure there is no issue going forward, he wrote.

The Coast Guard was notified of the door issue, Ensign Nathan Mendes told The Times. A piece of metal fell from the forward loading door, he said. Mendes described it as a piece of a “roller housing unit” that came loose because a “weld failed.” As a result, a 14-foot safety net was put around the door, Mendes said, and will remain until the vessel leaves for repairs.

“It’s going to be looked at more extensively during the drydock period,” he said.

Most of the ferry service issues have settled down in the past week, after having three weeks of problems in March, which were complicated by disruptions in service by storms.

The SSA is holding its monthly meeting in Vineyard Haven Monday at 10 am at Katharine Cornell Theater.

The ferry was taken out of service Monday, and is going to Fairhaven shipyard, where it will undergo repairs on a checklist of items that have surfaced since it returned from Senesco Marine.