Boat Line Receives No Offers to Purchase Ferry Flying Cloud
James Kinsella

Not one taker stepped forward Wednesday to put in a bid on the Steamship Authority's high-speed ferry, the Flying Cloud.

The lack of interest in the vessel, for which the boat line hoped to obtain at least $5 million, is the latest chapter in the Flying Cloud's mostly troubled six-year history at the boat line. The SSA paid $8 million for the ferry in 2000.

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Boatline Governors Eye Commuter Book Rules to Change and Simplify
James Kinsella

NANTUCKET - The Steamship Authority is considering loosening restrictions on the transfer of regular tickets, as well as on the 10-ticket discount books that are a staple of ferry travel for Vineyard residents.

At present, the boat line restricts the use of regular tickets and of the 10-ticket books to their buyers.

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SSA Budget Is Busted by Oil
Mike Seccombe

Rising world oil prices have blown a million dollar hole in the budget of the Steamship Authority and forced the boat line to refigure its budget for a second time.

However, governors balked at management’s advice that they should immediately consider fare increases to cover the extra projected cost, opting instead to put off any revenue decisions until January.

If the price of oil remains high, governors will consider measures that include a fuel surcharge.

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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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As Fuel Costs Skyrocket, SSA Raises Fares
Mike Seccombe

Fares for both cars and passengers on Steamship Authority ferries will go up beginning May 1 as a result of soaring world energy prices.

Passenger fare increases on both the Vineyard and Nantucket routes were recommended by boat line management at the April governors’ meeting in New Bedford on Tuesday. The fare hikes are expected to raise an extra $1.5 million in revenue to offset fuel price increases.

But after a long discussion, boat line governors called for raising vehicle rates as well, to provide a further financial cushion of some $575,000.

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Rental Cars Drive SSA, Packer to Court
Mike Seccombe

The Steamship Authority appears likely to go to court to stop a Vineyard barge operator from bringing rental cars to and from the Island for the summer tourist season.

SSA general manager Wayne Lamson told a meeting of the boat line governors on Tuesday that repeated warnings to the barge operator had gone unheeded, and that any further shipments would bring legal action.

Ralph Packer, who owns Tisbury Towing and Transportation, said yesterday he believed the company was entitled to continue the practice.

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