Construction underway on ferries for new NYC fleet


The following is the text of a news release from the New York City Economic Development Corp:

(NEW YORK) — Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) and Hornblower, the operator of Citywide Ferry Service, announced Thursday that construction has officially begun on 19 vessels that will service New York City’s first citywide ferry system with the latest in 21st-century maritime technology and best design practices.  

Assembly line construction is already underway on seven aluminum-made vessels at two world-class shipyards, Horizon Shipbuilding and Metal Shark, with work commencing on each boat thereafter at two-week intervals. Approximately 200 full-time builders between both shipyards are working on the project.

“We are moving full-steam ahead and bringing modern ferry boats, outfitted with the latest technology and safety features, to our waterways. This new fleet will help us connect commuters and visitors alike to neighborhoods throughout the city,” said de Blasio.

“With vessel construction now fully underway, we’re one step closer to bringing fast, affordable ferry service to neighborhoods across the city,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “We can’t wait for New Yorkers to see these modern and efficient boats, which will arrive in New York Harbor starting early next year.”

“Metal Shark and Horizon bring to the table over 50 years of experience in producing large quantities of safe, reliable and environmentally efficient vessels under very tight timelines,” said Cameron Clark, Hornblower’s senior vice president for development and project manager for Citywide Ferry. “Come summer 2017, millions of New Yorkers will have a new way to ‘Work, Live, Play’ on our growing and thriving waterfronts, and we are confident in both shipyards’ ability to deliver the next big critical piece of New York City’s transportation network on schedule.”

Both shipyards are currently receiving vessel components and building the frame for each boat, before systematically assembling the rest of the hull and superstructure. This construction process reduces manufacturing time, allows for minor modifications throughout the boat build process and furthers on-time project delivery, with the first set of vessels expected to arrive in New York City in early 2017.  

Specs and features for Citywide Ferry vessels include:  

• Capacity for 150 passengers along with space for bikes, strollers and wheelchairs.
• ADA Local Law 68/2005 accessibility and compliance.
• Boats are 85 feet long, offering passengers more space than more traditional ferries.
• Ferries are primarily built out of aluminum, which is safe, lightweight and increases fuel efficiency. The fleet of 19 vessels will be built with the equivalent of over 77 million cans of aluminum.
• Use of ultra-efficient engines to reduce emissions.
• Innovative hull design to limit wake and maximize fuel efficiency.
• Wi-Fi available throughout the vessel.
• Heated decks that increase each vessel’s resiliency and durability, especially during the cold, snowy winter months.

The shipyards, Metal Shark in Jeanerette, La., and Horizon in Bayou La Batre, Ala., were selected because of their strong history of producing high-quality vessels quickly and efficiently. Metal Shark is one of the leading suppliers of vessels for members of the armed services, including the U.S Navy, and specializes in the building of patrol boats, fireboats, pilot boats and passenger vessels. Horizon has a track record of on-time performance under tight timeframes, having produced 40 aluminum boats in 20 months. Horizon Shipyard also completed an urgent build of 10 oil recovery barges in 30 days shortly after the Gulf oil spill to assist in the recovery efforts.  

Hornblower's project management team has also consistently delivered quality service and successful project launches under very strict deadlines, including a three-month turnaround on the Statue Cruises operation launching in New York City in 2008, as well as the launch of Niagara Cruises in which Hornblower built two new 700-passenger catamaran boats, disassembled them and then reassembled them at the bottom of the Niagara Gorge during one of the coldest winters on record.  

Citywide Ferry Service will carry an estimated 4.6 million passenger trips per year across six routes, providing new transportation to communities where housing and jobs are growing rapidly. The East River Ferry will also be fully integrated into Citywide Ferry, which will reduce the cost of that service from $4 to the same cost as a subway ride.  

Nineteen vessels will be operating at 21 landings throughout New York City, providing an affordable transit option for people in underserved communities and connecting New Yorkers with the city’s hundreds of miles of waterfront. Phase one of Citywide Ferry Service, which includes the use of 12 vessels, is scheduled to launch in summer 2017.  

Final assembly of all vessel components is expected to occur at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Construction of the barges has been underway for several months on Staten Island. Later this year, NYCEDC will begin installation of new ferry landings for the 2017 routes.

By Professional Mariner Staff