SSA employee allegedly tossed traffic cone at gull

An SSA employee is accused of tossing a traffic cone at a gull at the Vineyard Haven terminal Monday sparking outrage on social media. - Sam Moore

An incident Monday morning involving a Steamship Authority (SSA) employee allegedly throwing a traffic cone at a seagull at the Vineyard Haven terminal is under investigation by SSA administration.

The incident was brought to public light after Island resident Marla Heath posted about it on Islanders Talk, a Facebook page that allows locals to communicate and voice their concerns.

“I just saw a seasoned Steamship guy at the Vineyard Haven dock throw a traffic cone at a seagull, and three of them sat there laughing and watching as the bird screamed out. Now the thing cannot fly away and is stuck in the parking lot trying to get air,” she wrote.

Many people commented on the post, suggesting that Marla report the incident to either police, the animal control officer, or SSA officials.

Heath responded to commenters saying she tried to make calls to different resources, but because it is Labor Day, she assumed most people would be out of the office.

Heath said she was eventually able to reach the SSA communications department, and said, “I got the treatment and answers I was expecting.”

According to SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll, the SSA operations director reached out to Heath proactively after seeing the post.

Driscoll commented on the post, attempting to ease the frustration. “Everyone, we are aware of the incident and are looking into it. We’ve addressed the situation with the employee in question. Thanks for bringing it to our attention,” Driscoll said.

In an email to The Times, Driscoll wrote, “The Steamship Authority is aware of the report this morning concerning one of our employees throwing an item at a seagull. We are taking the matter very seriously, have already addressed the matter with the employee, and will continue to investigate the incident. To the best of our knowledge, the bird was able to fly away following the incident.”

According to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, it is unlawful to to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell migratory avian species without a waiver or permit. The Department of Conservation and Recreation suggests leaving gulls alone altogether.


  • Is this news? Now a post on social media with no evidence is news worthy on MV Times. Where is the professionalism? Where is the follow-up, eye witnesses, video, anything except a social media post. I have a concern that journalism at MV Times is becoming fake news. It goes something like this: small local newspaper editor decides content is more important than professional ethics or facts, feelings sell he says, facts are expensive.

    • Quite to the contrary, the SSA has confirmed the incident and spoken to the employee involved. So it is confirmed.

  • Old Man, what part of “I just saw….” conflicts with your definition of “no eye witness”? Who are you trying to protect with such statements?

  • I agree that he shouldn’t have thrown the cone.
    They talked to the guy, what do you want them to do, fire him? They didn’t kill the bird or grievously injure it.

    • The employee could have killed or maimed the bird. There’s an obvious disrespect for a living creature not to mention lack of professionalism. I’d be happy with a nice donation to a wildlife rehabilitation center or maybe some volunteer hours at he same.

  • A gull; a food processor of disagreeable efficiency, pacing the staging lot in search of a morsel, more likely anything resembling an oversized rock on which to deposit whatever it finds indigestible.

    Maybe just a suggestion to the employee not to do that in view of children.

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