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Seastreak Wall Street

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The 145-foot fast ferry Seastreak Wall Street after her accident on January 9, 2013.

This image, and the story of the accident, and the injuries reported as a result of the incident make me cringe. I also feel badly for the ferry captain, a 10-year veteran of the New York Waterway system, one of the toughest places in the World to drive such a vessel.

The boat was recently converted, switching from a four-engine, four-waterjet configuration, to a twin-screw, twin-engine, Controllable Pitch Propeller system. The conversion reduced the top speed by only a few knots, but saved a ton in fuel costs and has reduced the vessel’s carbon footprint, all good things. However, reports have surfaced that the people who drove the vessel were unhappy with its new handling characteristics. we’ll see if that comes into play in the USCG/NTSB investigation.

Having driven similar vessels (a four-engine-four waterjet ferry, and a twin-screw, twin-engine ferry–without CPP), I will say that there is a huge difference in handling. The waterjet boat is far more maneuverable in tight quarters, to say the least.

I’m hoping this doesn’t turn out to be the captain’s fault, but rather some type of mechanical/steering issue. If it’s operator error, the poor guy is in for a lot of awful, including the possible loss of his license and and endless amount of time in court dealing with injury attorneys.

I also wish all those injured speedy recoveries.

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