Mast broke with MV Katama underway

An employee assigned to the MV Katama tested positive for COVID-19. - Rich Saltzberg

A mast affixed to the MV Katama, one of the Steamship Authority’s freight boats, snapped during an April 27 crossing from Nantucket to Hyannis. The incident occurred at about 9:30 am in high winds, according to SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll. The section of mast that broke off fell onto the aft wheelhouse deck, but didn’t cause any injuries, Driscoll wrote in an email. The Katama has a mast at the bow and an aft mast just behind the wheelhouse. They hold running lights aloft. It was the aft mast that broke, Driscoll specified.

“There was no damage to any of the vehicles on board,” he wrote. “Upon returning to Hyannis, the vessel was cleared to make its next round trip by the Coast Guard; the last scheduled round trip was taken by the MV Sankaty. The following day, the MV Katama went to the Fairhaven shipyard for repairs and was replaced by the MV Gay Head. No trips were canceled due to the incident.”

The mast does not support radio antenna or have any other function, according to Driscoll.

“Other than the mast, there was no damage to the Katama,” he said.

A similar incident occurred aboard the MV Island Home this past winter.

“On Feb. 25, the top of the bow mast on board the MV Island Home was damaged during a period of high winds while the vessel was berthed at the authority’s Fairhaven shipyard for its prescheduled repair period.” Driscoll wrote. “There were no injuries or any other damage done to the vessel, and the mast was subsequently repaired.”

Masts on the rest of the SSA fleet were inspected and “found to be in satisfactory condition,” Driscoll wrote.


  1. Reports of damage to MV Katama can only mean one thing, a deflection from greater damage to another vessel or the Island Home is headed for dry dock again.
    The SSA can no longer be trusted to provide reliable transportation and needs to be abolished.

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