Propeller shaft issue sidelines ferry

The ferry Martha's Vineyard was taken out of service because of a propeller issue. -Rich Saltzberg

Updated March 17

A leak in the seal of a propeller shaft on the Steamship Authority ferry Martha’s Vineyard sidelined the vessel March 13. One crossing between Woods Hole and Vineyard Haven was lost. The ferry was sent to the SSA Fairhaven facility for repairs. The Nantucket was brought into service from Fairhaven to cover for the Martha’s Vineyard. 

“There were some residual delays due to the transit time of the MV Nantucket from Fairhaven,” SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll emailed March 14. Driscoll subsequently said the SSA anticipated having the Martha’s Vineyard back in service on the afternoon of March 15. This did not come to pass. In a message to The Times on Tuesday, Driscoll wrote that repairs to the Martha’s Vineyard will require “a brief shipyard period.” To that end, the SSA is sending bid packages to multiple facilities. Until a shipyard is booked, Driscoll was unable to say how long the vessel will be out of service.

March 17 marks the third anniversary of the 2018 blackout of the Martha’s Vineyard in Vineyard Haven Outer Harbor, an event that crippled the ferry and left 72 passengers, 14 crew members, and three concession workers waylaid for five hours. The Martha’s Vineyard went on to suffer blackouts on May 5, 2018, and Dec. 15, 2019. The March 17 and May 5 incidents became focal points of the HMS report, a sweeping review of the ferry line meant to identify problem areas and recommend solutions. The March 13 propeller shaft problem wasn’t connected to a blackout of the vessel. 


Updated with new details about a delay in repair time for the vessel.