jimmythegreek Posts:10493 Followers:376
On 05/18/2013 12:30 PM in General

FRIDAY'S 'NEAR MAYDAY' FOR JTG

Not the way I wanted to start out the weekend. Thankfully we love-tapped the pilings. Could have been a lot worse but nonetheless a wake up call.


Staten Island Ferry crashes into pilings; no injuries reported

by Kiawana Rich

A loss of power caused an early evening Staten Island ferryboat to crash into several pilings while attempting to dock at the St. George Ferry Terminal Friday.While no one was injured, some riders said the scare brought back brief images of the frightening 2003 Andrew J. Barberi ferryboat crash that killed 11 and injured 71.
The Spirit of America ferryboat lost power as the boat arrived at Slip 6 at 6:22 p.m., according to Department of Transportation (DOT) Seth Solomonow.
While the boat struck the pilings of an adjacent slip close to another vessel, said Solomonow, he said no passengers or crew members were reported injured.
There was also no damage to the vessel.
Several passengers aboard the ship who phoned the Advance said a "brace for impact" announcement was made about 30 seconds before the rough docking. Some said they heard a siren go off before impact.
There were 972 passengers aboard the boat at the time, Solomonow said.
Raymond Huminsky, 30, of Randall Manor, who was riding the boat home with his fiancee, was one of them.
Huminsky said he wasn't aware of what was happening at first, but then he got really scared when he found out the boat was going to crash.
"All of a sudden they said, 'Brace for impact,' so everyone didn't know what was 
going on and they were scrambling all over," he said. "Everyone up from the front of the boat ran to the middle of the boat. The man who opens the gate made announcement for everyone to, 'Sit down, sit down.'"
He continued: "I had my headphones on and didn't know what was happening until my fiancee said we have to go to the middle of the boat. That's when I took my headphones off and I knew what was happening. We hit the pilings, I thought we would bounce off, but we crushed the pilings instead. But the anticipation of gliding off dock was more traumatizing than the impact itself."
Don Thatcher of West Brighton was also on the boat returning from work. He said as riders got closer to the front of the boat to disembark, "a deckhand came running downstairs like something wasn't right and a minute later there was an announcement that said 'Be prepared for impact.'"
Thatcher said people were told by another boat worker to "back up and sit down."
The impact of the actual crash was light, he said. Thatcher added that riders were calm and he didn't understand why the boat didn't go into reverse propulsion, "so we could avoid the crash."
He said he had a friend who was on the 2003 Barberi boat and the incident brought those images home to him. "It pisses him off," said Thatcher, noting that maybe, "someone was not manning the ship properly or that there was supposed to be two people upstairs and maybe there was one person and someone else was falling asleep."
Thatcher said it looked like some people were huddling together because they were nervous, but he wasn't afraid because he felt the boat wasn't going fast enough for severe damage.
Huminsky said the main problem was no one knew what was going on. There was only a loudspeaker announcement saying, "brace for impact and no instructions and that was it."
Though power has been restored to three of the vessel's drives, the boat remains out of service pending investigation of the cause, said Solomonow. He added the Coast Guard has been advised and the crew is being routinely drug tested.
Ferry service maintained its regular schedule throughout the evening.
The Spirit of America is part of the three-boat Molinari-class of ferries, which entered service in 2005.
The DOT signed off on the boat only after negotiating extended warranties for its generators and drive system components, after problems had cropped up with its sister vessels, the Sen. John J. Marchi and the Guy V. Molinari.
The boat was named in a contest in the Advance sanctioned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg after the its original name, September 11, was found to be too chilling to many passengers and families of terrorist victims.

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