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PR- 171-04
June 30, 2004


Mayor Dedicates Plaque to Victims of Barberi Tragedy

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Iris Wienshall today announced that the Andrew J. Barberi will be returned to service on Thursday, July 1.  The Barberi was damaged on October 15, 2003 in a tragic accident that took the lives of 11 passengers.  Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Weinshall dedicated a plaque on the boat in memory of the passengers who perished and those who were injured in the tragedy. 

“Today we honor those who lost their lives or who were injured as a result of that terrible day last October,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “We will never forget those we lost, but, by re-launching the Barberi and dedicating this plaque, we can reaffirm our commitment to renewal, respectfully and with heavy hearts. In our ongoing efforts to make sure such a tragedy is never repeated, we have introduced safety and management initiatives that will further protect the millions of riders a year who use our ferries.”

“The boat was expertly repaired on Staten Island by Caddell Dry Dock and Repair,” said Commissioner Weinshall.  “They did a thorough and professional job regarding all aspects of this repair.  Now, as we prepare to return the boat to service, we want the families to know that our thoughts and prayers continue to be with them.”

Those who perished as a result of the October 15th accident are:

Joseph Bagarozza, 35, of Staten Island
Pio Canini, 52, of Staten Island
Debra Castro, 39, of Staten Island
Vincent Ferrante, 26, of Staten Island
John Healy, 44, of Middletown, N.J.
Carmen Huertas, 42, of Staten Island
Darius Marshall, 25, of Manhattan
Guillermo Paguay, 44, of Queens
Louis Robinson, 50, of Staten Island
Frank Sullivan, 46, of Middletown, N.J.
John Valinski, 40, of Staten Island

Soon after the tragedy, DOT announced a series of safety improvements for the Staten Island Ferry. Global Positioning System (GPS) technology was installed on all Island Ferry boats and a deckhand was assigned to the pilothouse at all times.  During docking, the captain and assistant captain are required to be in the pilothouse and all crewmembers carry radios and are assigned to definite docking assignments.

DOT also hired the Global Maritime and Transportation School (GMATS) of the United States Merchant Marine Academy to conduct a thorough review of the Staten Island Ferry system and operation.  GMATS recommended a complete restructuring that began with the hiring of Captain James DeSimone as Chief Operations Officer for the Ferry in April.  DOT is implementing a Safety Management System – a safety plan that covers all aspects of the operation that includes the boats, terminals, maintenance operations, management and administration. 

The Barberi, named after a legendary Curtis High School football coach, entered service in 1981.  The boat carries 6,000 passengers, and is 310 feet long and nearly 70 feet wide.  It is part of a seven-boat fleet serving nearly 65,000 daily passengers.

Caddell Dry Dock and Repair of Staten Island was awarded a $5.98 million contract in December of 2003 to repair the Andrew J. Barberi.  Work included installation of more than 1,600 seats, replacement of windows, new flooring and electrical work.  Caddell crews worked diligently to repair the Barberi over the past six months.  The United States Coast Guard has recertified the vessel for passenger use.


Ed Skyler / Jordan Barowitz   (212) 788-2958


Tom Cocola   (DOT)
(212) 442-7033

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