The knock-on effects of the financial crisis continue to manifest themselves in diverse and unforeseen ways. This week they paralyzed the board of governors of the Steamship Authority and forced them to the cost and bother of having to convene a special meeting.

To explain, you must start with one of the giant casualties of the crisis, Bank of America.

You will recall that this bank got into deep trouble a year or so back, first because of sub-prime mortgages and then because of its shotgun marriage to the even-more-troubled Merrill Lynch.

It wound up with a $45 billion federal bailout. It also went about rationing services.

Several months ago, it closed its Railroad avenue branch in Woods Hole, which is where the story really begins.

It happens the Bank of America Woods Hole branch was where the SSA did its banking, simply because it was the closest bank and had a handy night depository, so this presented a problem.

But the problem appeared solved in October when Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank announced it was opening a branch in Woods Hole: all they had to do was open a new account.

But there was a wrinkle in the plan.

Robert Davis, the treasurer/comptroller of the boat line, has a daughter who is employed as a loans officer by the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank.

Mr. Davis, for propriety’s sake, declared a potential conflict of interest.

Still, it should not have been a problem. The governors, having been made aware of it, could simply determine that the potential conflict was not so substantial as to affect the integrity of Mr. Davis’s position.

But on hearing of Mr. Davis’s actions, Vineyard governor Marc Hanover announced he also had a potential conflict, a bigger one.

He was on the bank’s board, so he wouldn’t vote when the board considered Mr. Davis. The rest of the board was prepared to grant Mr. Davis absolution . . .

until they noted the look of concern worn by SSA general counsel Steve Sayers.

The governors, Mr. Sayers pronounced, could not proceed, even though Mr. Hanover recused himself.

Opening the bank account would have to wait until Mr. Hanover had made his own formal disclosure to the Dukes County Commission — his appointing authority — and to the state Ethics Commission, he said.

Board members appeared unwilling to accept this. They suggested they could make a temporary decision, replacing Mr. Davis as the authorizing officer, pending Mr. Hanover’s disclosure, and then revisit the matter at a future meeting.

But Mr. Sayers was firm. They could be subject to criminal penalties by proceeding without necessary disclosure.

Additionally, Mr. Hanover would have to recuse himself from the decision.

And so the board decided, if they wanted their new bank account by Dec. 1, they would have to convene a special meeting without Mr. Hanover, before then. Nantucket governor H. Flint Ranney offered his island as a venue. The meeting will be held Tuesday on Nantucket.

Other business at the meeting went better, bad economy notwithstanding.

Total passenger numbers for the month of September were up 15 per cent compared with the same time last year, attributed largely to a bump from Labor Day visitors, the holiday having fallen on Sept. 7 this year.

Overall, the traffic trend continued down for the year, particularly for commercial vehicles. Operating revenues for the month of September were down some $580,000, compared with budget projections. But operating expenses were down even more — some $660,000.

Thanks to cost savings and the fall in fuel prices the boat line’s net operating income for the year to date is almost $12 million, more than $3 million above budget expectations.

The board also received news of a couple of planned service increases.

New England Fast Ferry requested permission to use the SSA’s Oak Bluffs terminal for a new passenger service out of New York, and possibly elsewhere outside Massachusetts.

The operator trialed the weekend run last summer, and it went well. Between one-third and one-half of the 1,550 passengers carried were first time visitors, NEFF reported.

The company said it planned to begin the service for Memorial Day and run it perhaps as late as Labor Day, but exact schedules are yet to be worked out.

On a much smaller scale, the New Bedford Harbor Development Commission and Cuttyhunk Ferry service put forward a proposal for twice-daily a pilot passenger service between New Bedford and Woods Hole, to run from the end of November, possibly until mid-May.