Water in Katama’s engine room caused by crack

The Katama was sidelined Sunday. -Rich Saltzberg

Updated Feb. 1

The Steamship Authority freight ferry Katama had “a four-inch crack in the shell plating of the vessel” that caused a “small amount of pooled water” in the ferry’s engine room shortly before 11:30 am Sunday, according to SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll. The incident forced the SSA to cancel Katama’s crossings on Sunday, and on Monday the extent of the problem with the ferry became more clear.

“The crack was slightly aft of amidships [the center line between the stern and bow] and essentially dead center between the port and starboard sides,” Driscoll told The Times. “A temporary repair was made with epoxy last night by a diver to allow the vessel to be transported to Fairhaven. The vessel will need to be dry-docked for permanent repairs to be made, so we are in the process of determining our options for that work.”

Because of the problem with the ferry, the SSA transferred two cars, each with two passengers, to the MV Martha’s Vineyard for passage to Vineyard Haven, according to Driscoll. “At no point was the safety of the passengers or the seven crew members on board at risk. The vessel’s 12:20 pm departures from Vineyard Haven and its next round trip, which was the last scheduled for the day, were canceled as a result. Vehicles that were booked for travel on board the M/V Katama were accommodated on other Authority vessels.”

On Sunday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Amanda Wyrick described the problem as “water in the hull,” not near a bilge. Wyrick said the SSA notified the Coast Guard of the problem. Wyrick said the SSA was able to wet-vac up the water.

Driscoll noted the Sankaty took over for the Katama Monday morning. 

Updated to provide more details.