Two waterfront Vineyard Haven companies owned by Ralph M. Packer have been ordered by a federal judge to pay $1.3 million in fines.


In the face of legal action by the Steamship Authority, Ralph Packer has finally agreed to stop the unlicensed transport of rental cars to Martha’s Vineyard on his barges for the summer tourist trade.

A longstanding dispute between the Steamship Authority and Ralph Packer’s barge operation over the annual transport of rental cars to the Island for the summer appears set to be fought out in court before this year’s tourist season.

For several years now, Mr. Packer’s Tisbury Towing and Transportation has moved cars for the Hertz rental company to and from the Island, much to the chagrin of the SSA, which has a legislated monopoly over the movement of people, vehicles and freight to and from the Islands.



The Steamship Authority appears likely to go to court to stop a Vineyard barge operator from bringing rental cars to and from the Island for the summer tourist season.

SSA general manager Wayne Lamson told a meeting of the boat line governors on Tuesday that repeated warnings to the barge operator had gone unheeded, and that any further shipments would bring legal action.

Ralph Packer, who owns Tisbury Towing and Transportation, said yesterday he believed the company was entitled to continue the practice.