Mechanical issue and bad weather cap holiday weekend

Steamship reports mechanical issues, and fog impacts flight traffic.

With canceled ferries, lines backed up to get to the Island on Monday morning. —Sam Houghton

After a long Fourth of July weekend, many visitors to the Island found that their way back to the mainland wasn’t easy. 

Mechanical issues on a Steamship Authority vessel and a persistent fog meant that multiple boats and flights off the Island were delayed or canceled Sunday and Monday.

Commuters who needed to get to the Island for work were also affected Monday morning.

Travel records were predicted to be broken across the country this year during the holiday weekend, and the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce estimated that around 115,000 visitors would come to the Island in the first week of July.

The SSA updated its website and Facebook with service alerts about the Vineyard route early Monday morning. The MV Martha’s Vineyard, which holds about 1,274 persons and 54 vehicles, lost its shore power connection overnight. Ships receive electricity through a shore power connection.

“The cause of the shore-power issue is under investigation,” Sean Driscoll, communications director for the SSA, said. “The power connection is needed overnight so is not affecting any of the other trips at this point.”

Engineering staff, who had to stay awake overnight to keep the boat’s generator running, went over their U.S. Coast Guard–mandated hours and couldn’t work a full morning, the service alert said. Two staff members exceeded their hours, Driscoll said. The MV Martha’s Vineyard needs two engineering staff to run (prior reporting has found that the SSA’s licensed deck officers currently work a schedule of 18 hours within a 24-hour period, but there’s been an ongoing labor dispute over better working hours).

The SSA tried to find replacements for the engineering staff, but their efforts were unsuccessful, according to the company’s Facebook account. The vessel wasn’t projected to run until noon Monday, when the next watch started its shift. 

Two round-trips were canceled Monday morning while the MV Martha’s Vineyard sat in the harbor, Driscoll said.

Further delays of the three other vessels were a result of “a combination of fog and logistical issues tied to the canceled boat,” Driscoll said.

The noon boat from Woods Hole to Oak Bluffs was delayed 10 minutes, according to the SSA’s website. The noon boat from Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole was delayed an hour. The next Island-bound boat was diverted from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven, and the 12:20 pm ferry to Woods Hole was delayed 30 minutes.

The fog, which burned off by midday, also impacted flights to and from the Island.

He didn’t have specifics of how many flights were impacted, but Geoff Freeman, director of Martha’s Vineyard Airport, understood that there were significant delays and cancellations for flights from the Cape and Islands because of the foggy conditions, he said.

Delays were also the result of poor weather at the other end of routes. “Even if it’s sunny here, other hubs back up,” Freeman said. 

The JetBlue 6:53 pm flight from the Island to John F. Kennedy Airport was canceled Sunday, and two other flights were diverted from the Island. One plane from JFK to MVY was diverted back to New York after attempts to land were unsuccessful. The plane landed almost three hours past scheduled arrival on the Island in New York.



  1. This article is missing the answer to a simple question and I suspect the Times doesn’t want to ask or answer it:
    If the steamship authority had not insisted that their crews be vaccinated during the pandemic, would we still have the eleven experienced staff needed to keep the ships running?
    The MVTimes own paper has reported that there are over 11 staff members that sued to keep their jobs after being forced out and I assume there are more that left and didn’t join the suit.
    I hope crew members can answer this and I’m not looking for a slew of vaccinated civilians to chime in with their vaccinated opinions. It’s a simple question.
    The steamship authority scared away and fired employees for exercising a simple autonomy over their body as the left still hold signs and chant: My body, my choice.

    • Eleven malcontents sued the SSA looking for a gravy train.
      They missed the boat.
      What was the average term of employment of the malcontents?
      Good riddance to bad rubbish.

      Have more than eleven fully vaccinated SSA crew left since the mandate?

      The SSA will continue to scare away people wanting to exercise a simple autonomy over their body – cannabis, alcohol, smoking (on the job).
      As the the Right holds signs – your fetus – our choice.

      How many of the disgruntled eleven are proud of what they did for themselves? Their families?

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