The MV Island Home returned to Vineyard Haven just before 2 pm Thursday ready to make its 2:30 pm run back to Woods Hole.
As crew members came off the freight deck they were met with hugs by an Steamship Authority worker. The ferry has been out of service since it went to Senesco Marine in December for routine maintenance.
It left for its first crossing on time at 2:30 pm.
The Island Home was cleared to return to service by the U.S. Coast Guard at approximately 11 Thursday morning, Steamship Authority general manager Robert Davis told The Times. Its return to service had been delayed for about two weeks because of mechanical issues that involved an issue with software for one of its bow thrusters.
Despite the ferry’s return, walk-on passengers were herded onto the 2 pm fast ferry. “They don’t want passengers yet,” an unidentified SSA employee told some of the waiting commuters.
The MV Woods Hole, delayed by weather, will leave Hyannis for Vineyard Haven at 5 pm today to resume service to and from Vineyard Haven, Davis told The Times.
The MV Martha’s Vineyard is once again exiting service and will undergo punch list repairs in Fairhaven with Senesco Marine crews assisting in the work. The date the vessel will travel to Fairhaven isn’t yet set.
“We’re still trying to work out the logistics right now,” Davis said.
The MV Island Home suffered bow thruster glitches immediately after returning from an light overhaul at Senesco. The SSA summoned overseas experts to remedy the problem.
“They literally had to fly in a guy from Denmark to reprogram the computer that operates the bow thruster,” Marc Hanover, the Vineyard’s SSA board representative, told the Dukes County Commissioners Wednesday night.
Davis also said the MV Nantucket was undergoing maintenance at Senesco Marine.
“The M/V Nantucket was sent to Senesco the first week of March for a routine dry-docking including hull inspection, painting, machinery inspection, rescue boat davit replacement and passenger seating modifications. The original bid was $1,595,205,” he wrote.
Asked how the SSA might guard against another vessel leaving that shipyard with defects, Davis wrote, “We have assigned the senior captain as well as the senior chief engineer as our onsite representative and they are supported by our port engineers.”
Suddenly, there is a bounty of ferry possibilities, though in an advisory this afternoon, the Steamship Authority said Thursday will be the last for the fast ferry service provided by the SeaStreak.