Since a steering malfunction sidelined it on Dec. 23, the Steamship Authority has worked to get the MV Katama back in service. Initial repairs were done while the freight ferry was in Slip 1 at the Vineyard Haven terminal. From there the Katama went to the SSA Fairhaven facility for an examination and additional repairs.
“[V]arious components of the steering system were replaced in the vessel (namely the jockey bar and various bushings and pins), but there was no other outstanding issue discovered with the vessel,” SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll emailed. “A Coast Guard sea trial is scheduled for Thursday, and the vessel is planned to return to service Friday.”
SSA board chair Marc Hanover said the Katama and the MV Gay Head, which recently had throttle problems, are more prone to wear and tear because of their age. “You’ve got to understand, these boats are old,” he said. “They’re well beyond their projected lifespan. They were long in the tooth when the SSA acquired them.”
The SSA acquired the Katama in 1988 and the Gay Head in 1989 as used vessels, according to the SSA website. Both were offshore supply ships the SSA converted to fit its needs.