Metal fatigue blamed for damage to Katama hull

Several morning crossings have been canceled due to weather conditions.

A crack that opened up in the hull of the Steamship Authority freight ferry Katama “was the result of metal fatigue,” according to SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll. A small amount of water was discovered in the engine room of the vessel on Jan. 31, triggering a turnaround mid-crossing. Divers later discovered a crack. The Katama was subsequently sidelined until March 2. It went first to the SSA Fairhaven facility, where drydocking was determined to be necessary, and then the vessel was sent to Thames Shipyard in Connecticut to conduct repairs. 

The crack was described by Driscoll as located in the hull “at the point where a piece of hull plating was welded to the vessel’s support frame.”

Driscoll noted the crack was about four inches long. “The area of hull plating was cropped, and a new piece of plating was installed,” he emailed. 

The price tag for the repair work isn’t yet known, Driscoll wrote, as Thames hasn’t presented an invoice. He previously anticipated the cost would be under $100,000, and wouldn’t require board authorization. 


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