UPDATED: SSA ferry loses steering outside Woods Hole

SSA Photo:

WOODS HOLE – The Steamship Authority reports that during its scheduled 5:20 p.m. trip from Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole this evening, the M/V Katama lost some of its steering capabilities outside of Woods Hole passage. The vessel still has propulsion and power and partial steering has been restored. Upon approval from the Coast Guard and the availability of a tugboat, the Katama will be escorted back to Vineyard Haven. There are 78 passengers, seven crew members and 29 vehicles on board. The crew members are making regular announcements and are able to keep the vessel positioned in such a way so as to not affect the passage of other vessels in the area. There have been no injuries and those on board are in no danger. Additional updates will be forthcoming as information is available.

Update: The Coast Guard has approved the vessel’s return to Vineyard Haven. Two tugboats are currently escorting the vessel to port. When the vessel arrives in Vineyard Haven, the passengers and vehicles will be placed on the next available trip to Woods Hole.

2nd update: The M/V Katama was successfully towed back to Vineyard Haven by two Tisbury Towing tugboats, arriving back at the dock at approximately 8:15pm. Authority engineering and maintenance personnel are on board the Katama working to diagnose and repair the vessel overnight. All passengers who wished to continue to Woods Hole boarded the M/V Martha’s Vineyard, including vehicles, and arrived in Woods Hole at approximately 9:15 p.m. The Authority provided complimentary food and beverage on their trip on board the M/V Martha’s Vineyard to those customers who were affected, and we thank them for their patience this evening.

To reiterate, the M/V Katama did not lose power this evening. It lost partial use of its steering at approximately 6:06 p.m. just off the coast near Nobska Light, but still had full shipboard power, its propulsion and use of its bow thrusters. The crew was able to safely maneuver the vessel to a safe location and keep its position without having to drop anchor. At no time were the customers or crew in danger.

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