Steamship crew members test positive

Mariners on ferries Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket sidelined.

Some positive cases of COVID-19 have caused some changes in scheduling for the Steamship Authority. -Rich Saltzberg

Two Steamship Authority crew members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, one on the MV Martha’s Vineyard and one on the MV Nantucket. Neither employee’s name is being disclosed by the ferry line for reasons of medical privacy. The MV Martha’s Vineyard crew member last worked on a Vineyard route shift that began at noon on Jan. 10, and ended at 11:30 am on Jan. 11, according to a release.

“The crew member subsequently was identified as being in close contact with individuals who tested positive for COVID-19; the crew member then obtained a test, the results of which were positive,” a release states. 

The MV Nantucket crewmember last worked on a shift that began at 2:45 pm on Jan. 7, and ended at 2:15 pm on Jan. 8, according to a release. 

“The crew member subsequently learned that a relative with whom there had been close contact had tested positive for COVID-19. The employee fell ill and obtained a test, the results of which were positive,” a release states. 

The Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment and Cape Cod Healthcare will help furnish COVID-19 testing for employees from both ferries who may have had close contact with the infected crewmembers, according to a release. 

“Those employees will not be allowed to return to work until after a negative test result is received or are cleared to work by a medical professional,” the release states.

Due to a shortage of mariners, freight boat service will be altered as follows:

  • Starting Saturday, Jan. 16, the MV Katama will run four round-trips per day on the Woods Hole–Vineyard route, with the first trip leaving Woods Hole at 6:30 am daily. The vessel will end its operating day following its 3:35 pm arrival in Woods Hole and berth there overnight. This change in schedule resulted in the cancellation of the 6:30 pm trip of the MV Katama on Friday, Jan. 15, due to constraints on the vessel crew’s work hours.
  • Also starting Saturday, Jan. 16, the MV Gay Head will run its first two round-trips on the Hyannis-Nantucket route. The vessel was already scheduled not to run on Sunday, Jan. 17, due to low demand; beginning Monday, Jan. 18, the vessel will run this modified schedule, with an optional third trip, Monday through Friday, until further notice. 

“The aAuthority had planned to reduce the operating schedule of the MV Katama starting Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, due to low demand for those trips, but moved up the schedule change in response to Friday’s developments,” the release states. “The authority’s reservation personnel have rebooked the vehicles on the affected trips, which were largely used by freight shippers, to other trips to accommodate the schedule changes. These schedule alterations will continue until further notice.”

SSA general manager Robert Davis apologized for the dip in service. “While we understand that the reduction in freight service will have an affect on our customers, this slight reduction in service will help us better manage our available personnel to ensure the maximum amount of service possible to each island,” he said through a release. “I thank our customers for their understanding during this time.” 


  1. I’m really sorry to hear this. I was a foot passenger on the ferry a couple Of times last week.on each trip (4 times) there were people on the ferry not wearing masks. I mentioned it to crew and a couple of people I asked if they could please put their masks on. I wish the steamship would just have a crew member always walking around checking people. If not for us then for their own staff.

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