Steamship eyeing a fourth vessel

The HOS Polestar is a sister ship of the HOS Lode Star (shown above). — courtesy SSA

Updated May 16

The Steamship Authority (SSA) board is leaving itself open to acquiring another freight vessel. 

During the Tuesday morning board meeting, the board unanimously approved holding a right to first refusal for the HOS Polestar purchase from Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC. 

According to SSA general manager Robert Davis, this right would last until October. If someone offers to buy the HOS Polestar, Hornbeck will need to first offer the SSA an opportunity to purchase the vessel at the offered price. 

The SSA would have two weeks to accept the offer in writing, and pay 20 percent of the purchase price as a deposit. 

“Basically, this is the fourth sister to the vessels we already purchased,” Davis said. “Our option to purchase the fourth vessel expired at the end of March, and Hornbeck is essentially willing to extend that option, but also be able to market the vessel for service.” 

The three freight ferries the SSA most recently purchased were the Aquinnah, the Barnstable, and the Monomoy. The Aquinnah and the Barnstable are currently undergoing conversion services so they will be usable for the SSA’s routes. 

Whether the HOS Polestar will actually be purchased by the SSA remains to be seen. “The decision to purchase would be based on the price and other factors at the time the offer came. The vessel would go into service, but it’s premature to say how it would be used, or if it would replace another vessel,” SSA spokesperson Sean Driscoll told The Times. 

In other news, the authority is collecting public input toward developing its strategic plan. These include a survey, done in concert with consulting firm Raftelis, and public sessions for people to express their “insights and hopes” about the SSA. On the Vineyard, the public session is scheduled to take place at the Oak Bluffs library on Tuesday, May 23, from 10:30 am to noon. For more information, visit

Corrected with the right time for the public session.