Jersey City-bound ferry goes off course, hits pier in Hudson River

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating how a Hudson River ferry crossing from Manhattan to New Jersey struck a dock along the way, but the agency tentatively has ruled out mechanical failure.

The ferry York left the World Financial Center terminal in Manhattan on Nov. 29, 2013, en route to the Paulus Hook terminal in Jersey City with 24 passengers on board. The boat struck the Owen Grundy Pier at 1620, said Lt. Cmdr. Bill Grossman, chief of the Investigations Division for Coast Guard Sector New York.

The pier is about 300 yards north of where the ferry normally docks in Jersey City.

The 69-foot ferry is owned by Goldman Sachs and operated by New York Waterway.

Four people were taken to a hospital. New York Waterway spokesman Pat Smith said only one passenger required treatment for an injury.

“It was determined that the vessel remained seaworthy,” Grossman said. “The damage was well above the waterline in the gunwale area” on the starboard bow. He said the damage estimate was $35,000. The ferry was repaired and returned to service.

“At this point we don’t believe there was a mechanical failure,” Grossman said. Drug and alcohol tests were negative for the captain and two crewmembers. Grossman said sea and wind conditions were not a factor.

Smith said, “there was no distraction: no one in the wheelhouse who wasn’t supposed to be there. There was no use of a cellphone or texting.”

By Professional Mariner Staff