Ferry strike caused damage to barge

A report released by the Steamship Authority indicates a barge was damaged when it was struck by the MV Gay Head. - Rich Saltzberg

On Jan. 11, the Steamship Authority freight ferry Gay Head struck a barge in Woods Hole while backing into a slip. The allision sidelined the Gay Head for two hours before the Coast Guard let it resume service. The Coast Guard described damage to the Gay Head as “cosmetic.” It’s unclear if the barge, the Randy R, was sidelined for any length of time too. However, a marine surveyor’s report shows areas of “deck edge” took damage, and that spuds were also damaged. The Randy R is a spud barge, a type of barge held stationary for marine construction projects by steel piles or spuds. The barge is owned by Cashman Inc., general contractor for the waterside portion of the Woods Hole Project. SSA general counsel Terence Kenneally told the board in February that Cashman was going to make a claim for damage the Gay Head caused. He did not have figures available at the time. SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll said Tuesday those figures are still not available. 

The report, which was done by Michael Collyer, principal surveyor for Marine Safety Consultants, and by senior marine surveyor Dana Collyer, provides photographic evidence of barge damage. The report also shows that a monopile installed as part of the project was hit.

“We were shown a 92” mono pile driven just off midships of the spud barge Randy R,” the report states, “which suffered a crease at a marked 9.5’ level, with moderate indent, being approximately 6’ in height and 4’ in circumference. It appears to be set in 1-1½”.”

Driscoll said the monopile will be outfitted as a dolphin (a big fender for the ferries), so it should be able to withstand contact with a vessel. He was doubtful the strike from the Gay Head would necessitate resetting or replacing the monopile. He later message told The Times definitively that the monopile needed no repair. 

Driscoll blamed the Gay Head incident on wind.

The Gay Head suffered throttle issues a little less than two weeks earlier, on Dec. 30. The vessel missed six trips before the problem was fixed.