New York, New York
January 9, 2013
NTSB Number: MAR-14-01
NTIS Number: PB2014-105712
Adopted: April 8, 2014
The Seastreak Wall Street, a high-speed passenger ferry serving commuters traveling between New Jersey and New York City, struck a Manhattan pier at about 12 knots on the morning of January 9, 2013. Of the 331 people on board, 79 passengers and 1 crewmember were injured, 4 of them seriously, in the third significant ferry accident to occur in the New York Harbor area in the last 10 years.
During the captain's approach for docking, he intended to reduce speed and transfer control from one bridge station to another less than a minute before reaching Pier 11/Wall Street on the East River. Seastreak captains routinely used this procedure and changed stations for better visibility. In this instance, however, the maneuver proved unsuccessful, and the captain was unable to remain in control of the ferry before impact.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Seastreak Wall Street's allision with the pier was the captain's loss of vessel control because he was unaware the propulsion system was in Backup mode. In addition, his usual method of transferring control from one bridge station to another during the approach to the pier did not allow sufficient time and distance to react to the loss of vessel control. Contributing to the accident was Seastreak LLC's ineffective oversight of vessel operations. Contributing to the severity of injuries was Seastreak LLC's lack of procedures to limit passenger access to stairwells on the Seastreak Wall Street during potentially high-risk situations such as vessel docking and undocking.