Coast Guard tows disabled ferry in New York Harbor

A New York Harbor sightseeing cruise went awry Nov. 22, and a disabled ferry had to be towed back to safety.

The captain of New York Water Tours The Manhattan radioed the Coast Guard at approximately 3:30 p.m. to report that his vessel was disabled near Governors Island with 100 people aboard. A 96’2”x22’2”x6’6” aluminum-hull ferry built in 1970, The Manhattan previously operated as a whale watcher out of Cape May, N.J., according to Coast Guard vessel records. New York Water Tours is an arm of Go New York Tours, which also operates helicopter, bicycle, and double-decker bus outings in New York City.

Although the ferry had dropped anchor, the captain said, current and weather conditions prevented it from holding and the boat was drifting in the busy harbor.

Watchstanders from the Coast Guard Sector New York command center launched several rescue boat crews to create a security zone for the drifting ferry and issued a security broadcast to notify other traffic of the hazard.

The 87’ Coast Guard Cutter Sailfish, dispatched from Bayonne, N.J., arrived on the scene at approximately 4 p.m. to tow The Manhattan in, taking the ferry up the East River to Pier 36. A commercial salvage tug helped maneuver the ferry to the pier, and by 6 p.m. all passengers had safely disembarked.

Various Coast Guard assets help set up a security zone around a disabled ferry in the New York Harbor on Nov. 22, 2016. USCG photo.

Various Coast Guard assets help set up a security zone around a disabled ferry in the New York Harbor on Nov. 22, 2016. USCG photo.

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Ashley Herriman

Ashley Herriman is WorkBoat's online editor.

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