Staten Island Ferry: SSG Michael H. Ollis to begin passenger service by year end


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STATEN ISLAND, NY – Passengers on the Staten Island ferry will board a brand new boat by the end of the month.

SSG Michael H. Ollis, the first of three new ships coming on the Staten Island Ferry, will begin commuting between St. George and Lower Manhattan by the end of 2021, although an exact date for the start of service has not yet been established. be determined, according to officials from the Department of Transportation (DOT).

“We are delighted to welcome the Staten Islanders to the new SSG Michael H. Ollis ferry by the end of the year. This new ferry features extended exterior decks, improved seating, and an oval promenade on the upper deck that serves as a ‘walking track’. It will serve our city for decades to come, ”said DOT spokesperson Vin Barone.

SSG Michael H. Ollis first arrived in New York Harbor in mid-August, with a DOT-hosted commissioning ceremony in early October.

The Ollis boat is named after the hometown hero, Master Sgt. Michael Ollis, a native of New Dorp who died at the age of 24 saving a Polish soldier from a suicide bomber who attacked Forward Operating Base Ghazni in Afghanistan in August 2013.

The new storm-resistant vessel is better equipped than previous Staten Island Ferry vessels to operate in a wide range of weather conditions and locations – and can also be used in emergency evacuations, if required.

The ship was modeled after the John F. Kennedy boat, popular among riders for its open-air rides and extended front decks. The ferry has more comfortable seats, phone charging stations, and an oval walkway on the upper deck that will also serve as an outdoor walking track for passengers.

The ship was built by Eastern Shipbuilding Company, which is currently in the process of completing the second and third new Staten Island Ferry Class Ollis, Sandy Ground and Dorothy Day ships.

“We are proud to deliver the SSG Michael H. Ollis to New York City fully certified and passenger ready. It is the first ship in the modernized fleet and benefits from the most advanced technology and environmental engineering in the marine industry, ”said Joey D’Isernia, President of Eastern Shipbuilding Group in August.

The Sandy Ground, which completed sea trials in November, is expected to be delivered to New York from the company’s Florida shipyard by the end of the year.

It is not yet known when the Dorothy Day, the third and final boat in the Ollis class, will be delivered.

HISTORY OF DELAYS

The arrival of SSG Michael H. Ollis has been repeatedly delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, first by Mother Nature and then again by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

The ship Ollis was originally scheduled to arrive in New York Harbor in fall 2019, with the ship initially scheduled to be commissioned and commissioned in early 2020.

However, the Florida shipyard, operated by Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc., where Staten Island Ferry’s newest ships are being built, was severely damaged by Hurricane Michael in October 2018, delaying the arrival of new ships. .

In October 2019, the DOT said delays associated with storm damage pushed the boat Ollis’ scheduled arrival back to August 2020.

Then, in July 2020, the department announced that the arrival of the new boat had again been delayed, this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, the DOT had not provided an updated schedule on the delivery of the vessel.

“Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the delivery date of the ship Ollis has been affected,” a DOT spokesperson said at the time. “Further details on delivery dates are to come. “

Delays linked to the coronavirus can be attributed, in part, to international travel restrictions that have prevented a team of German engineers from entering the country to inspect the boats.

“COVID-19-related travel restrictions have prevented some key technical personnel from reaching the construction shipyard as originally planned, causing delays in the commissioning and delivery schedule,” a carrier said. word of the DOT.

Following a push from Borough President James Oddo and former Rep. Max Rose, the four engineers were granted a national travel exception, allowing them to travel to the country to inspect the boats.

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