Steamship Authority

Mechanical Issues Cause Steamship Authority to Cancel Trips for Hyannis-Nantucket

The Steamship Authority had to cancel several ferries Tuesday after experiencing mechanical issues.

The M/V Woods Hole was forced to cancel its noon departure from Hyannis, the 2:45 p.m. return from Nantucket, 5:30 p.m.departure from Hyannis and 8 p.m. return from Nantucket. In an effort to accommodate commuters, they announced that additional trips on the M/V Sankaty and the M/V Gay Head would run Tuesday.

Officials are seeking the cause of a pitch alarm on one of its propellers. The alarm activated Monday and indicated that the propeller pitch actuator needed replacement. However, a diver’s inspection found no abnormalities for the ship.

To remedy the ongoing issue, Steamship Authority officials called in additional resources to assist in repair efforts.

The ferry is the same one that had to cancel a trip on Monday.

"I don’t know whats going on with them because they’ve always been quite reliable," said one passenger.

Through May of this year, the Steamship Authority, which operates ferries from Cape Cod to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, has canceled 566 trips between Woods Holeand Vineyard Haven and 4 trips between Hyannis and Nantucket due to mechanical issues. The number is 23 times the amount of cancelations it had through May of last year.

“It’s not how we want to run a ferry line,” Steamship Authority Communications Director Sean Driscoll said. “We’re working very hard to identify these issues as much a possible.”

The delays are crippling for those that need to get trucks on the ferries to deliver food to the islands.

"We have to go through our list and determine, OK, who’s going to get food today who’s going to get food tomorrow," said one delivery person.

In May, the Steamship Authority board voted to seek an independent review of its operations due to the number of cancellations. The review is now underway.

“We need them to just get it right because they are a lifeline to the islands and they’ve had such a long record of success,” Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) said. “We need to figure out what is going on here.”

Cyr said being the busy season, there are other services to get passengers back and forth to the islands and he hopes they take advantage of it.

“My constituents pretty much have an 8 week season so this is crunch time,” Cyr said. “And we want people to know the islands are still open for business.”

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