Union Letter: Staten Island Ferry Fire Result of Shoddy Training, Staffing Shortages

Union Letter: Staten Island Ferry Fire Result of Shoddy Training, Staffing Shortages

by YS Gold 

The Staten Island Ferry is used by commuters between Manhattan and Staten Island, but also serves as a fun Chol Hamoed outing for many families in the community who take this fun route on the Hudson River for a couple of dollars. 

This winter, a terrifying fire broke out aboard the Sandy Ground, a boat that was purchased the city’s Department of Transportation, and introduced to the Ferry fleet only last June. The blaze began in the mechanical room of the boat, and sent plumes of smoke through the entire boat, launching an evacuation of the boat in middle of the water. 

The fire was determined to be the result of a mistakenly-closed fuel return valve, which caused a fuel leak in the mechanical room. 

Now, a letter from Mariners Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) the union representing the Staten Island Ferry crew, alleges that poor training of the ferry workers, as well as staffing shortages, contributed to the blaze. According to the letter, the workers were not told that this ferry works differently than their older counterparts, and were not given enough training in how to operate these new ferries. 

MEBA has been battling the DOT for years on a host of issues related to the Staten Island Ferry workers, including the fact that their pay has not been raised since 2010.

photo credit: Flickr


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