Ferry Islander - get it on eBay
Talk about a drop in value. The former Steamship Authority (SSA) ferry Islander that sold for $500,000 a year and a half ago is currently available for less than the price of a late model used Toyota Corolla.
Bidding began at $10 last Friday on eBay. By Monday there were 27 bids and the offers had climbed to $12,100.
As of yesterday afternoon there were 31 bids. The highest bid was $14,100.
The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), the corporation responsible for Governors Island in New York City, purchased the 770-passenger, half-century-old ferry for $500,000 in July 2007. Last week GIPEC put the ferry on the Internet auction block rather than pay millions for needed maintenance. Bidding ends Monday.
eBay lists the ferry under the category heading of steel passenger/vehicle ferry. The listing advises bidders that "the location and the size of this vessel makes removal difficult." And that, "Vessel is in poor condition. Engines and generators are in good condition. Item is being sold as is, where is and with all faults."
Potential buyers will certainly want to read a 37-page report prepared by Seaworthy Systems, a marine surveyor, titled, "Report of conditions found, M/V Islander."
The report details extensive active corrosion, weld fractures and buckled doors. "The amount of steel on the Islander needing renewal is extensive," says the report, which estimates the amount of steel requiring replacement at approximately 25 percent of the total structural steel in the ship.
The report found that the Islander was "in a generally poor and worn out condition consistent with a service life of 57 years in salt water and with lax maintenance in her later years."
The report concludes that, "The previous owners had used the vessel well beyond its usable service life to the point where it was no longer able to serve as a viable passenger/vehicle ferry without investing millions of dollars on repairs and upgrades to keep it in service."
What is the next stop for the Islander? Difficult to say, but it could well be the scrap yard.
In an email to The Martha's Vineyard Times referencing the eBay auction, Rob Kosienski, Jr. of Meriden, Conn., and Oak Bluffs echoed the views of many who have fond memories of the ferry. "It's very sad to see an old friend pushed aside like trash," he wrote.