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125 Rescued From Grounded Ferry in New York's East River

FDNY
Image courtesy FDNY

Published Jun 6, 2021 4:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday evening, the U.S. Coast Guard, New York City Fire Department and New York City Police Department helped rescue the passengers of a fast ferry that had gone aground just off Brooklyn.

At about 1617 hours on Saturday, the Coast Guard Sector New York command center received a report that the 150-foot Seastreak ferry Commodore had gone aground and was taking on water in Bushwick Inlet, north of the Williamsburg Bridge on the Brooklyn side.

Three boatcrews from Coast Guard Station New York responded along with harbor patrol boatcrews from the FDNY and NYPD. The NYPD and FDNY personnel safely evacuated all 118 passengers and seven crewmembers from the ferry, and Coast Guard responders went aboard to conduct dewatering operations alongside FDNY. Dewatering was successful, and commercial salvors have been contracted to assist. 

"There were no injuries except for one member of the crew who has been removed to NYU hospital," said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala. "It was a safe operation. It was conducted jointly and safely. Again we’re under control but we will maintain a presence as long as [NYC Emergency Management] and Seasteak need us on the scene."

In a statement, Seastreak said that there had been no injuries. One crewmember was taken off the vessel for observation for what may have been heat exhaustion, but the individual was not technically injured.  

The firm said that the vessel was transiting the East River, bound for East 35th St. in Manhattan, when it lost engine power and steering. It drifted into Bushwick Inlet on the Brooklyn side of the East River and went aground. According to Seastreak, the captain and crew alerted the passengers several times to be seated and hold on prior to the grounding. 

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the incident in cooperation with Seastreak. 

The last ferry accident involving a Seastreak vessel was in 2013 when the ferry Wall Street struck its dock in Lower Manhattan, injuring about 60 passengers.