The following is text of a news release from Eastern Shipbuilding Group:
(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) — On Friday, Eastern Shipbuilding Group launched Sandy Ground (Hull 220), the second of three new Staten Island Ollis-class ferries for the City of New York Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Staten Island Ferry Division. The launch took place at Eastern’s Allanton facility in Panama City, Fla.
Eastern’s CEO Brian D’Isernia hosted the launch ceremony to Eastern’s employees, families, state and local government officials and guests in attendance. D’Isernia detailed Eastern’s accomplishments since Hurricane Michael 18 months ago and building and delivering vessels during the COVID-19 pandemic. He expressed pride in the entire Eastern Shipbuilding workforce and families for adjusting their work processes, lifestyles and providing outstanding performance despite their recent hurtles.
The new Ollis class is named after fallen soldier of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division, Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, a Staten Island native killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 28, 2013 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. The first of the series, Hull 219, is named in his honor. Ollis has received several honors posthumously including Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Silver Star, the Audie Murphy Medallion, Polish Gold Star Medal of Honor, and the Afghanistan Star from Poland for his valor. He was 24 years old.
The vessel blessing was performed by the Rev. Kevin McQuone of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, and the ceremony sponsor and honored guest was Brittany Trumbull, wife of Jay Trumbull, Florida House of Representatives, representing the 6th District. The U.S. Army JROTC Color Guard from Deane Bozeman High School of Panama City presented the military colors instructed by Jeffery Adkins in honor of Ollis.
The three Ollis-class, double-ended 4,500-passenger ferries are from a design provided by Elliott Bay Design Group, with each ferry featuring four ABS Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) 12-710 EPA Tier 4 marine propulsion engines, with two engines powering one ABS Reintjes DUP 3000 P combining gear and one ABS 36 RV6 ECS/285-2 Voith Schneider propeller at each end of the vessel. Power generation is provided by three ABS EPA Tier 3 marine continuous-duty diesel generator sets, Caterpillar C18 engines driving three-phase generators rated at 425 kW.