Steamship Authority Board Selects Top Choice for Independent Review

HYANNIS – The Steamship Authority’s Board of Governors selected their top choice of firms yesterday to conduct an independent review of operations.

The board voted last month for the review as a result of hundreds of trip cancelations this year due to mechanical issues.

The review will focus on maintenance, vessel operations, management structure, communications and information technology.

The board weighed eight bids for the work and settled on two finalists considered highly advantageous.

They will now work out contract details with Seattle-based HMS Consulting and Technical.

The HMS bid was selected as the top choice over KPFF Consulting Engineers as it came in almost $350,000 less.

Robert Ranney, the Nantucket representative on the board, was happy with the selection process.

“It was an incredible amount of work on the board’s part, but it is worth it in the end and I think we’ll get a good result,” Ranney said.

Steamship Authority General Manager Bob Davis said it will be good to get an outside perspective as to what some of the best practices are for operations if they are not already being followed.

“That way we can be improving our service and making it once again the reliable service that our customers rely upon,” Davis said.

Throughout this spring the SSA had major problems with the M/V Woods Hole, the M/V Katama, and M/V Martha’s Vineyard, with each being out of service at times.

Davis said some issues were anticipated after returning from the shipyard but the number of issues were overwhelming.

The board voted unanimously to expand the scope of a planned maintenance review after hundreds gathered at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in May to voice their frustrations.

Local legislators, including Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr and Barnstable/Dukes/Nantucket State Representative Dylan Fernandes, urged the Steamship Authority to take action through a letter.

Cyr and Fernandes said that those who live on Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard should have access to adequate ferry service.

Ranney asks Steamship Authority customers to “hang in there” as the process progresses.

“We are doing a good job and just trust us on this,” Ranney said.

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