WASHINGTON - The National Transportation Safety Board indicated
in an update of its investigation that an underwater obstruction may have
contributed to the Seastreak Wall Street accident that injured some 70+ ferry
passengers in New York City.
An underwater survey of the vessel revealed damage to the
port propeller, and while a more complete hull survey will be conducted when
the vessel is hauled from the water for repairs, the Army Corps of Engineers has
been asked to conduct a bottom survey of the approach to Pier 11 to determine
if there are any underwater approach obstructions.
Other factors are already being ruled out. The vessel’s
steering system has been found satisfactory and NTSB investigators have also
interviewed the U.S. Coast Guard personnel who inspected the Seastreak Wall
Street in July 2012, after the engine and propeller modifications were
completed. The inspectors indicated that they found the modifications
satisfactory and issued a temporary Certificate of Inspection, certifying that
the vessel has been inspected and that it is in conformance with the applicable
vessel inspection laws and regulations. The COI also sets forth the conditions,
routes, and manning under which a vessel may operate.
In other updates, the engine manufacturer arrived on-scene
last Friday and investigators were able to download alarm and parametric data
stored on engine control modules in each of the two engine compartments. In
addition, investigators retrieved video from several onboard cameras. All of
this information is being analyzed. Static testing of the main engines and
control systems is ongoing.
Additionally, NTSB investigators have made contact with 25
of the injured passengers and conducted interviews with 13 regarding what they
observed during the accident. More witness interviews are being conducted and
investigators are continuing to contact additional passengers from the ferry.