Today, the Staten Island Ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi from Manhattan experienced a hard landing while docking at St. George Ferry Terminal. At this time, FDNY EMS reports 36 people transported to area hospitals, most with minor injuries, though one passenger complained of chest pains.
The cause of the incident is currently under review by the DOT and the U.S. Coast Guard. However, preliminary indications suggest very strongly that this was likely the result of a mechanical failure, which will now be thoroughly inspected. There is minor damage to the vessel, which has been taken out of service, and there is also minor damage to the terminal facility and the slip.
There were 252 passengers and 18 crew members aboard the Barberi, which departed Whitehall Ferry Terminal at 9 a.m. and arrived at St. George at approximately 9:25. Investigators will make a mechanical inspection in addition to reviewing on-board video camera footage. Ferry service was not otherwise interrupted and the system is currently running on schedule. The Barberi passed its last USCG annual inspection in July 2009 and also its USCG quarterly inspection in April of this year. It also passed its annual American Bureau of Shipping survey in October 2009.
The crew of the Staten Island Ferry deserve our thanks for their rapid and professional response to this incident. The captain sounded the whistle repeatedly to raise the alarm, alerting crew members to move passengers away from the ferry's outdoor decks, preventing potentially serious injuries. And we also owe our gratitude to Staten Islanders, who responded admirably and alertly to the situation, keeping themselves and others out of harm's way. The response from our partners at FDNY, NYPD and OEM following the incident was also excellent, and taken together, these efforts helped prevent the incident from becoming more serious.