Final Farewell to Historic Steamer Nobska
Jim Hickey

Time has finally run out for the Nobska, the last coastal steamer in America and the car and passenger vessel that served the Vineyard between 1925 and 1973. Preliminary work to dismantle the historic vessel began in the Charlestown Navy Yard early this week, and on Wednesday the wrecking ball came down on her upper deck.

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SSA Ferry Ready for Sea Journey from Mississippi to Fairhaven

The ferry Island Home is set to make the long trip home.

Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson said this week that the double-ended, $32 million car and passenger ferry is due to leave the VT Halter shipyard at Moss Point, Miss., this weekend to make the 2,000-mile trip to the Steamship Authority maintenance facility in Fairhaven.

The Island Home was originally due for delivery in June of 2006, but construction was set back some seven months by Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005, just after work had begun on the ferry.

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Island Home Pays Surprise Visit to Vineyard Haven
Mike Seccombe

Someone referred to her as the Islander on steroids. Others called her the cruise ship. One Steamship Authority worker, gazing up at the huge bulk of the ferry Island Home tied up at Woods Hole, simply called her a monster.

Whatever the metaphor, you get the picture. This is a big boat.

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First Official Voyage of Island Home Finds Passengers Pining for Islander
Jim Hickey

Trying to get people\'s thoughts on the new Island Home ferry during its maiden voyage Monday afternoon was kind of like asking a child what they thought of their new stepmom or stepdad the same day their parents got divorced.

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Island Home Makes Her Debut in Commissioning at Vineyard Haven Wharf
Mike Seccombe
Among the many speeches given at the commissioning of the new ferry Island Home last Saturday, Boyd (Butch) King's was both the briefest and most touching.
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Topsail Schooner and Boatline Spar Over Town Harbor Space
Mike Seccombe

Since 1964, the tall ship Shenandoah has brought picturesque maritime charm to Vineyard Haven, moored in the same place in the harbor. But maybe not for much longer.

The Army Corps of Engineers has written to the owners of the 150-foot wooden sloop, the Douglas family, threatening to suspend the permit for the ship to moor there unless they can come up with some solution that resolves persistent complaints from the Steamship Authority that the Shenandoah is a hazard to ferry operations.

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Law to Protect Right Whales May Hamper Ferry Operations
Mike Seccombe

Legislation designed to protect migrating right whales could have an unintended, devastating impact on ferry services to the Vineyard and Nantucket, the Steamship Authority has warned.

Under draft rules attached to the legislation, any sighting of a right whale would trigger the imposition of a strict, 10-knot speed limit on ships more than 65 feet long, operating within a so-called “dynamic management area” with a 36-mile radius, for 15 days from the time of the sighting.

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SSA to Receive Federal Funding, Scraps Winter Fast Ferry Service
Mike Seccombe

The Steamship Authority foresees another tough economic year ahead, with its 2010 preliminary draft budget projecting a further decrease in operating revenue.

The draft, presented at Tuesday’s meeting of the board of governors on Nantucket, expects passenger revenues to decline 2.1 per cent and freight revenue to fall 4.6 per cent.

Even when offset by an expected 11.4 per cent rise in rent revenue from barge operations, the overall decline is expected to be 2.1 per cent. Total operating revenue is expected to be just over $81 million.

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Uncle Sam and the SSA

Uncle Sam and the SSA

The federal government sometimes provides better entertainment than late night television.

Case in point is the Steamship Authority and the latest snafu over the use of federal stimulus money earmarked for reconstruction work on the ferry terminals in Oak Bluffs and Hyannis.

First comes the problem with the material used for the dolphins on the Hyannis project. Turns out that some of the material is made in China and the rules for stimulus money require that all steel be made in the USA.

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SSA Gives Hy-Line License Fee Relief
Mike Seccombe

Steamship Authority governors have opted to take a hit of up to $160,000 to boat line revenues this year so high-speed services to Nantucket can be maintained in the face of falling patronage.

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