Steamships and Ferries

Bon Voyage to the Steamer Naushon

A chapter in American maritime history will close Tuesday when the last car and passenger-carrying steamboat in North America sails out of Woods Hole harbor.

The retirement of the SS Naushon from the Steamship Authority fleet marks the end of a 170-year era of steam ferry service along the Eastern seaboard.

The Eagle Has Landed

The 233-foot M.V. Eagle, the Steamship Authority’s largest and most extravagant ferry, arrived in Woods Hole 24 hours ahead of schedule on Tuesday. Sailing out of a cold fog bank into the Vineyard Sound beneath a torrent of sleet and rain, the $8-million ferry completed her voyage from Louisiana.

The Motor Vessel Gay Head Is Unassuming Workhorse Ship

The Steamship Authority’s newest all-purpose vessel, the MV Gay Head, sailed into Vineyard waters early this month with none of the hype or fanfare typical of the arrival of a new passenger vessel.

It has not been christened with its new name and plans to hold an open house on board have been put off. But to the standby passengers it will carry in years to come and to those who sail the vessel, its virtues will not be underestimated.

“A lot of the time these ships go unnoticed but they’re real workhorses,” said Capt. Edward B. Jackson, who currently pilots the Gay Head.

MV Katama Sails a New Look into Vineyard Waters

Welcome aboard the MV Katama, the latest addition to the Steamship Authority fleet. She is now on line in Vineyard waters. And in the years ahead she will sail with us and we with her on thousands of trips to the mainland and back. The Katama, with a new, more spacious look and lines similar to the MV Auriga freight vessel, is 180 feet long, carries 149 passengers and 32 cars. She comes to the Vineyard from the more placid waters of the Gulf of Mexico where she has sailed since launch in 1981 as an oil exploration vessel.

 

The Auriga and Naushon Collide In the Mists of Monday Morning

The SS Naushon collided head-on with the freight boat Auriga in thick fog at 8:55 yesterday morning.

The two Steamship Authority vessels hit one another about one mile east of Nobska lighthouse at Woods Hole. The Coast Guard said that at the time of the collision, seas were calm and the visibility was zero.

Fourteen people were injured, 11 passengers aboard the Naushon and three crew members on the Auriga. All were taken to Falmouth Hospital, but were released later in the day.

Islander Ruptures on Rocks Sea Disaster Averted

The motor semi Islander struck submerged rocks moments after leaving the Oak Bluffs wharf at 9:15 Wednesday morning and began taking on water through five holes ripped in her hull. But the vessel’s captain, Antone Jardin, wrestled the foundering ship back to port, averting a major disaster and possible sinking of the ship. The cause of the mishap is under investigation by the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety office in Boston, but Coast Guard officials said yesterday it appears that a previously unplotted rock in the channel may have caused the damage. Earlier reports that a key buoy had drifted out of place were discounted by the Coast Guard and Steamship Authority officials.

Steamer Nobska Baltimore Bound

As the steamer Nobska slipped past the Chops on the ebbing tide late yesterday afternoon, there was none of the celebration that greeted her arrival in these waters just about 50 years ago.

Her decks were empty, her boilers cold. When she left Nantucket slip yesterday she didn’t sound one long blast on the steam whistle people hereabouts have come to know as hers just by the sound - she was on the end of a Coastline Towing Company hawser.

The New Nantucket Makes Herself at Home in Oak Bluffs

Pennant-bedecked and fresh paint, the Steamship Authority’s newest ($3.8 million) and biggest ferryboat (230 feet, 1,000 passengers, 494 net tons of freight), the motor vessel Nantucket, docked Wednesday at the Oak Bluffs wharf for public inspection. The Regional High School band and hundreds of cheering spectators had welcomed her to Woods Hole at the end of her 871-mile voyage from her Jacksonville, Fla., shipyard birthplace. She goes into service from the mainland to Oak Bluffs and Nantucket today.

Authority Acquires a Freighter Boat

The Steamship Authority has purchased the 157-foot diesel-powered motor vessel Auriga for use as a freight carrier. The price was $435,140, “which will be augmented by the cost of modifications for Island service, as well as outfitting and delivery costs.”

According to a statement released by the boatline this week, Auriga will be employed primarily in transporting trucks and freight from Woods Hole to Nantucket during the summer schedule.”

Nobska Grounded in Heavy Fog Off Oak Bluffs Beach

Passersby near the Oak Bluffs public beach were startled yesterday morning when, eerily, out of a thick morning fog, crept the bow of a large white steamer heading straight toward shore.

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