Steamship Authority Releases Names of Pilot, Captain on High Speed Ferry

HYANNIS – The identities of the captain and pilot of the Steamship Authority fast ferry that crashed into the Hyannis breakwater last month have been released.

A boat line official said Karl Riddar and Thomas Manley were in charge on June 16 when the Iyanough struck the rocks.

The official also said both men were back at work, but in a different capacity while the investigation is ongoing.

Riddar and Manley had both been placed on paid leave in the days after the accident.

There were 48 passengers, 6 crew members and 3 food service workers onboard when the vessel grounded.

Fifteen people were taken to Cape Cod Hospital with various injuries.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Coast Guard and the Steamship Authority.

Late last month, officials shed additional light on the events immediately prior to the grounding.

They said the captain misinterpreted a metal pole on the Hyannis breakwater for a buoy. The vessel collided with the breakwater around 9:35 p.m. that evening.

The Iyanough approached the “HH” navigation buoy, which is about 2,500 yards south from the entrance to the main channel in Hyannis harbor. At that point, the captain asked the pilot to deploy the boat’s searchlight to illuminate Buoy 4, the next aid to navigation on the normal route for the vessel.

“When the Captain returned to the RADAR, he recognized the familiar pattern of Buoys 4, 5, and 6 and began adjusting the vessel’s course to accommodate its entrance into the main Hyannis channel,” Steamship Authority General Manager Wayne Lamson said.

Lamson retired on June 30, but was still in charge of the boat line at the time of the accident.

“The pilot was unable to locate any navigational aids with the searchlight.”

“But what the Captain has interpreted on the RADAR as Buoy number 4 was in fact the metal pole at the ending of the breakwater, which is about 800 yards north of Buoy number 4 and also north of the channel entrance,” Lamson added.

The breakwater was not visible to the officers, due to waves that are estimated to have been 8 feet high at the time. Lamson said that obscured the breakwater’s RADAR image, but the pole was picked up because it remained higher than the waves. What the captain believed to be buoys 5 and 6 were actually sailboats, according to Lamson.

The Steamship Authority had previously stated that inclement weather, strong winds, and choppy seas played complicating factors in the grounding of the vessel.

“The distances and positions of the pole and the sailboats matched identically to the pattern normally associated with buoys 4, 5, and 6,” Lamson said. “Therefore, the Captain did not detect anything unusual about the vessel’s approach into Hyannis channel until after adjusting the vessel’s course to begin its entrance into the channel, he saw the breakwater in front of the vessel.”

The captain tried to administer the panic stop, but was not able to halt the vessel before the collision.

Both the captain and the pilot tested negative for alcohol and drugs. They are described as seasoned mariners, with over 60 years of experience combined.

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