Passengers evacuated after Seastreak ferry grounds in NYC

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(NEW YORK) — U.S. Coast Guard, New York City Fire Department (FDNY), and New York City Police Department (NYPD) crews responded to a ferry aground with 118 passengers and seven crewmembers aboard in Bushwick Inlet in Brooklyn, N.Y, on Saturday evening.

Watch standers at the Coast Guard Sector New York command center received a report that the 150-foot Seastreak Commodore ran aground and was taking on water in Bushwick Inlet at approximately 4:17 p.m.

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Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park photo

Three boat crews from Coast Guard Station New York were launched and began rescue efforts with FDNY and NYPD crews. NYPD and FDNY safely evacuated all passengers and crewmembers from the ferry, and Coast Guard Station New York members went aboard with FDNY members to conduct dewatering operations.

Coast Guard investigators are on scene investigating the cause of the grounding.

“The team effort between the Coast Guard and our local first responders including FDNY and NYPD harbor units allowed for the safe evacuation of all passengers,” said Capt. Zeita Merchant, commander of Coast Guard Sector New York. “The Coast Guard will now work with Seastreak on the investigation and inspection of the vessel to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”

– U.S. Coast Guard

Statement from Seastreak:

Just after 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 5, while traveling along the East River to East 35th St. in Manhattan from Highlands, N.J., Seastreak Commodore experienced an issue that caused the vessel to lose engine power and steering. The vessel drifted into Bushwick Inlet on the Brooklyn side of the East River and came to rest along the shore.

The captain and crew were able to alert the passengers several times to be seated and hold on prior to the vessel going aground. With the assistance of the Coast Guard and the NYFD, the crew of Commodore safely evacuated all passengers on board and no injuries to passengers were reported. One crewmember was taken for observation – not for injury from the grounding, but from what we believe may have been heat exhaustion.

We are appreciative of the prompt responses of both the USCG and the FDNY, who were calm and professional in assisting with an orderly disembarkation of our passengers to the shore. The safety of our passengers is our top priority and we are cooperating with the USCG to conduct an investigation as to what caused the mechanical or electrical failure.

While the hull of Commodore did sustain some damage that allowed water to enter the port hull, temporary patches have been applied and pumps were used to pump out the water. The vessel is now floating freely and will be towed to a shipyard later today (Sunday) for repairs.

By Professional Mariner Staff