Mechanical issues cause SSA delays

Two vessels are having issues. 

A long line of passengers waiting to ride the delayed 7 am ferry on Thursday morning. —George Brennan

Updated Nov. 8

Steamship Authority (SSA) ferries experienced significant delays and some cancellations on Wednesday, Nov. 1, and Thursday, Nov. 2. 

Two of the Steamship’s main passenger ferries — the Island Home and Nantucket — were taken out of service temporarily for mechanical issues, and freight boats had to pick up the slack.

“We worked hard to stay as close to schedule as possible, but some delays did occur,” Steamship Authority spokesperson Sean Driscoll said. “We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience.” 

The delays started on Wednesday morning, when the Gay Head was brought on as a substitute for the Island Home while the larger passenger ferry was sidelined for scheduled maintenance. 

The Island Home would eventually return to service in the afternoon and evening, only to be taken offline again in the morning for mechanical issues. The SSA announced Wednesday night that the Gay Head would be taking over the passenger ferry schedule Thursday morning. The Island Home was experiencing electrical issues.

The news about the Island Home’s electrical issues followed the SSA’s Wednesday announcement that the passenger ferry Nantucket would be unavailable starting at 2:30 pm, to allow maintenance personnel to repair the stern freight door. Driscoll told The Times repairs were needed for one of the wheels that guide the door operations. 

“There was no incident that [led] to it,” he said on Wednesday. The Nantucket returned to service on Wednesday evening. The Gay Head took over the Nantucket’s schedule while the vessel was out. 

According to the SSA, three trips in total were canceled on Wednesday. According to witnesses, delays throughout both days lasted between 30 minutes and an hour for some ferries, including early morning commuter ferries.

Some passengers with vehicles were unable to board the ferries because of the issues on Wednesday, so these customers were given priority status to be loaded onto a vessel on a “space-available basis” on Thursday morning, according to the SSA. 

Service returned to normal on Friday.