Jammed doors on Island Home
The Steamship Authority still has some mechanical and operational bugs to work out with the new ferry Island Home.
Yesterday afternoon, the Island Home missed her scheduled noon trip from Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole when crewmembers were unable to mechanically shut the bow and stern freight deck doors. As concerned passengers wondered what was going on, crewmembers struggled to diagnose the problem.
An effort to use the ship's public address system only added to the consternation. An employee hit the wrong button, setting off the general alarm klaxon.
All of this activity took place under the watchful, unhappy gaze of Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson who was returning from a morning Island meeting.
Crewmembers succeeded in closing the bow door, but the stern door refused to move. A call was placed to the Coast Guard seeking permission to sail with the door open.
Passengers disembarked from the Island Home Wednesday, as Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson, standing on the right, looks on. Photo by Ralph Stewart
As crewmembers worked to close the stern door manually, Island Home passengers were asked to board the Martha's Vineyard, which was preparing to leave on her 1:15 pm trip to Woods Hole.
On Island Home, crewmembers disengaged the door gears and used a large monkey wrench to turn the door's geared shaft. The ferry sailed just after 1:30 pm, much to the relief of the vehicle drivers who had remained on board.
Late yesterday, Mr. Lamson told The Times that debris in the bow doors' hydraulic lines was the cause of the problem. He said once the lines were drained and cleaned the doors operated well, and the ferry resumed service in the afternoon.
Mr. Lamson said the delay was unfortunate, but the problem should be solved. He said that the doors are designed to be opened and closed manually. He could not say why the problem required disengaging gears, or the manual use of a wrench. He said the incident would be reviewed, including the use of the PA system.