When the Steamship Authority freight boat Sankaty came loose from its overnight moorings in Woods Hole last summer and drifted into a nearby dock, the damage seemed limited to a snapped power cable that was soon repaired.

But the recent release of an internal report, indicating crewmembers were aware the vessel wasn’t properly secured that night — as well as on at least one other occasion, days before the breakaway — has fractured the authority’s generally unanimous board of governors, who took opposing positions at their regular meeting Tuesday morning in Falmouth.

In a discussion lasting nearly half an hour, Martha’s Vineyard member James Malkin and Falmouth representative Peter Jeffrey argued that the governing board should have been given full results from the boat line’s internal investigation into the July 27 crash, while the remaining three board members said they found no fault with the way general manager Robert Davis handled the incident and investigation.

At the opening of the meeting, Mr. Davis read a prepared statement about the incident and ensuing investigation that said in part: “As a result of a thorough investigation, the root cause of the untethering of the M/V Sankaty remains the same as previously before, namely the failure... to properly secure the vessel in accordance with the existing operating procedures... I look forward to and I welcome the opportunity to have a constructive dialogue with the board to discuss future protocols and managing public records requests and associated communications in the scene."

Mr. Malkin said that the issue was not solely about what took place on July 27, but the lack of transparency with the board in the days afterwards.

Left to right: James Malkin, Peter Jeffrey, Robert Ranney.

“I had been told at a number of meetings that lines slipped, [that] lines were improperly fastened and the boat drifted away in Woods Hole. I never was told that we were aware of this for three days prior,” said Mr. Malkin.

“This could have been an absolute disaster, and this is my home port,” Mr. Jeffrey said.

“I can’t get over how angry I still am about the fact that we knew about this issue for three days, [when] I was led to believe that this was a crew mistake that happened one single time... I do feel completely misled, just like Mr. Malkin,” Mr. Jeffrey continued.

Mr. Davis’s reluctance to release information that might identify individual crew members could have been addressed by holding an executive session with the board, Mr. Jeffrey said.

“We discuss personnel issues all the time in executive session,” he said.

Countering their dissatisfied peers, Moira Tierney of New Bedford, Robert Jones of Barnstable and Robert Ranney of Nantucket all voiced support for the boat line’s management of the Sankaty incident and aftermath.

“The comment that the board was misled does not apply to me at all,” said Ms. Tierney, who joined the meeting virtually while other board members were in the room.

“I... felt perfectly satisfied with the management actions that were taken,” she said.

Robert Jones of Barnstable echoed her words, adding that in his opinion the Sankaty breakaway was not a major incident and had been handled appropriately with training.

Chair Robert Ranney of Nantucket agreed with Ms. Tierney and Mr. Jones.

“I didn’t feel misled at all. I felt it was a personnel matter,” Mr. Ranney said.

“We’re learning from this, we’re moving on and I think that’s where it stands,” he added. “Let’s move on.”

Mr. Malkin, however, pressed for the governing board’s response to a request from the Dukes County Commission — the body that appointed him — for a joint meeting to discuss the issue.

Mr. Jeffrey endorsed the proposal, saying that his appointing body — the town of Falmouth — also is concerned about how the governing board is fulfilling its responsibilities.

“We’re not here to apologize for the Steamship Authority. We’re here to govern the Steamship Authority, and this board needs to do that,” Mr. Jeffrey said.

“When the perception is that the board isn’t governing, that’s when the Massachusetts legislature gets interested in the activities of the board and if we want to keep local control and management of the authority, I think we need to have a public display of our governance,” he said.

Board members agreed to schedule a meeting with the commission in January.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, communications director Sean Driscoll told the Gazette that one of the two Vineyard Haven slips went out of commission Monday after a pin broke on its transfer bridge. A crane was brought to the Island Tuesday morning to perform repairs and the slip was expected to be back in service by the end of the day.