After suffering a string of malfunctions this year, even after returning from a big overhaul that lasted about four months at Senesco Marine, the MV Island Home is anticipated to need more work in 2019. The vessel will have one, or possibly two, of its engines overhauled. The bid package has yet to go out, therefore costs and dates haven’t firmed up yet, but Steamship Authority general manager Robert Davis told his board on Nantucket on Sept. 25 that the work, like all ferry engine overhauls, would be pricey.
One reason for this year’s delay in returning to service was that the new bow thrusters installed in the Island Home (to the tune of approximately $1 million) wouldn’t properly interface with the ferry’s engines, an engineer for Tees White Gill previously told The Times.
Once the engines are overhauled, will they, in turn, have difficulty interfacing with the bow thrusters? The Times has reached out to the Steamship Authority on the matter, and expects to hear back at the beginning of next week.
Davis told the board drydock expenses for the Island Home were more than anticipated this year.
“The drydock expense for the MV Island Home was up $195,000,” he said. “That’s a timing issue. The boat was in drydock earlier this year, and we just had to settle on some change orders for that vessel.”
Steamship Authority treasurer and comptroller Gerald Murphy told board members overhauls on SSA vessels are forecast to go up in 2019. Vessel overhaul, engine repair, and parts expenses are expected to increase by $1.2 million with work on the Island Home and the Iyannough, a ferry that operates on the Nantucket line, as the driving forces, he said.
Davis said it’s the overhauls that are prompting the need for rate increases. “Some of these cost estimates that we have, that we’ve incorporated, include drydocks for vessels that are 16 and 18 months out in the future,” he said. “And what happens in that intervening time, how much steel work that ends up needing to be done once you take a boat out of the water and things like that. All of our vessels, as you may have noticed, are getting older, so they require more and more maintenance. This year, for 2019, Gerard pointed out that we have engine overhauls for the Island Home being done, as well as two of the engines for the Iyanough being done. So they reach a certain number of hours — in the case of the Island Home, we actually physically take the engines out of the vessel during its repair period. We’ll be doing two next year and two the following year. But that’s every four or five years we end up doing that. That’s a very expensive proposition to be doing overhauls on these engines.”
Asked why Murphy said one engine would be overhauled and Davis said two, Steamship Authority spokesman Sean Driscoll told The Times if the MV Nantucket does not need to be overhauled in 2019, those funds can be budgeted for a second engine on the Island Home. If the Nantucket does get overhauled, it is then likely the Island Home will only have one engine worked on.