After a study of options, Steamship Authority governors Tuesday considered a recommendation to replace the aging freight ferry Governor with a 235-foot freight vessel similar in size to the ferry Martha’s Vineyard.
The boat line announced plans to begin a replacement study for the Governor, a freight boat that dates to the 1950s, in January 2012. This spring, three options emerged: a new freight vessel that could carry 400 passengers, a new vessel the size of the Martha’s Vineyard that could carry 800 passengers, and a large new vessel the size of the Island Home that could carry 1,200 passengers.
At the Tuesday board meeting in Hyannis, SSA general manager Wayne Lamson said the study recommended a new 235-foot freight vessel that can run year-round on both the Vineyard and Nantucket routes. The ferry could carry up to 17 trucks or about 50 cars, and at least 384 passengers, with indoor seating for 250 people.
The ferry would be similar in size to the Martha’s Vineyard, but could carry more trucks. It would be a prototype replacement for other freight vessels, Mr. Lamson wrote in a meeting summary.
According to the summary, board members agreed that the Governor should be replaced with a vessel that could be used on routes to both Islands. But the board asked for a cost/benefit analysis of increasing inside capacity to 500 passengers and including a food concession area and larger restrooms. The analysis will be presented at next month’s meeting.
Governors authorized setting the wheels in motion for a new vessel by requesting pre-qualifying documents from naval architectural firms that would like to bid on the design and engineering of a new vessel.
In other business, the ferry Nantucket will be headed to the Thames Shipyard and Repair Company in New London, Conn., after Labor Day for scheduled maintenance. The company was the lowest bidder at $635,844 for work including a U.S. Coast Guard hull exam, machinery inspections, underwater hull cleaning and painting and boat deck sandblasting and painting.
Finally, governors authorized Mr. Lamson to dispose of surplus property through an online auction at govdeals.com. The auction would take place in mid to late September, and interested parties can bid on items including old bike buses and shuttle buses, controls and spare parts associated with the Governor’s former diesel electric drive system, two marine sanitation device units, and a table saw.