Early morning chaos in Woods Hole


Updated 7:30 pm

This time it wasn’t a ferry breakdown, but dozens of cars and trucks were stuck on the MV Governor ferry this morning in Woods Hole after a truck clipped and severed a cable that connects a ramp to the boat.

The ferry run from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven was scheduled to depart at 7:30 am, but was unable to move until about 8:20 am.

In an email to The Times, Robert Davis, general manager of the Steamship Authority, said the incident occurred during the Governor’s arrival in Woods Hole. “One of the trucks caught the cable for the counterweights to the Slip 2 transfer bridge with its trailer, causing it to break and the counterweights to become unattached to the transfer bridge,” Davis wrote. “As a result the MV Governor’s 7:30 am departure was delayed approximately 45 minutes.”

There were no injuries, according to Davis.

Asked why the freight ferry was loaded after the incident, Davis wrote, “The transfer bridge was secure on the vessel, which allowed for the remaining vehicles to be offloaded and then for the next trip’s vehicles to be loaded. Maintenance needed to add temporary rigging to lift the bridge off the vessel for it to resume operations.”

While SSA employees worked to free the ferry from the ramp, passengers aboard the Governor were told to get off the ferry because the Island Home, which was scheduled to depart at 8:15 am, would get them to the Island quicker. But it turned out that the Governor actually left port moments before the Island Home, which was delayed until 8:24 am.

This is just the latest problem for the Steamship Authority, which has suffered numerous mechanical breakdowns this spring.

The slip was repaired at about 10:25 am, but the Governor’s troubles were far from over. At 12:50 pm, the Steamship Authority issued an alert stating that the issue with the Governor was with a fuel pump. A low fuel pressure alarm triggered the cancellation of the 9:50 am crossing, the alert states. “As the repairs progress, we will have a better estimate as to when the MV Governor will resume service,” according to the alert.

In the interim, the MV Martha’s Vineyard, just back from its one day at Senesco, filled in for the Governor. That caused delays throughout the day, because the Governor was occupying the only other usable slip in Woods Hole while it was being repaired.

The Governor was repaired and cleared to return to service by the U.S. Coast Guard just after 3 pm on Tuesday, according to a statement from Davis.

Updated with comments from Robert Davis and to report the Governor’s return to service. -Ed.

  • This from the SSA website. “In 1960, the Massachusetts legislature created the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority to provide for “adequate transportation of persons and necessaries of life for the Islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.” Anyone been “adequately transported” lately?