(WOODS HOLE, Mass.) — The Steamship Authority (SSA) is excessively frugal, lacks accountability, and is rife with internal factions working at odds with each other, according to a new report from outside consultants tasked with dissecting problems at the agency that led to a series of high-profile boat breakdowns this year, The Boston Globe reported.
The 140-page report, released Monday morning, cautioned that the agency was lucky it didn’t have more frequent and severe problems before this year and warned that if it fails to address the issues, it could experience “a repeat of the spate of incidents that instigated this study, or worse.”
The quasi-public SSA, which runs ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, drew the ire of islanders, vacationers and state lawmakers this spring after mechanical troubles plagued a large portion of its fleet, causing an unprecedented wave of trip cancellations and even stranding passengers at sea.
That prompted the authority’s governing board to spend more than $200,000 to conduct a broad review of operations by Seattle-based consultants HMS Consulting and Technical.
The report faulted the agency’s leadership for lacking “a clear and aspirational vision,” which “has led to competing factions within the organization.”
It also raised concerns about safety, including the lack of a safety management system, a comprehensive safety manual, or any employees “dedicated to health, safety, quality, and the environment.”
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