VESSEL REVIEW | SSG Michael H. Ollis – First of three new 4,500-pax ferries for Staten Island, New York

VESSEL REVIEW | SSG Michael H. Ollis – First of three new 4,500-pax ferries for Staten Island, New York


The Staten Island Ferry Division of the City of New York Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has taken delivery of the first vessel in a new series of three double-ended passenger-only ferries built by the Eastern Shipbuilding Group of Panama City, Florida.

SSG Michael H. Ollis was built to a design developed by the Elliott Bay Design Group of Seattle. All three vessels in the series were designed to meet USCG 46 CFR Subchapter H certification requirements for operation in protected water routes and are to be certified by ABS to meet its Standards for Building and Classing Steel Vessel for Service on Rivers and Intracoastal Waterways. The new ferries are also designed to be able to operate safely even in extreme weather conditions.

The new ferry honours US Army Staff Sergeant Michael H. Ollis, a Staten Island native who was killed while shielding fellow soldiers from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on August 28, 2013, while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. Two additional vessels of this design, Sandy Ground and Dorothy Day, will join the Staten Island Ferry fleet in 2022.

The 319- by 69-foot (97- by 21-metre) SSG Michael H. Ollis has a draught of 13 feet (4.11 metres) and capacity for 15 crewmembers and 4,500 passengers. It will provide commuter services between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan, transporting commuters and tourists along a 22-minute, 5.2-statute mile (4.5-nautical mile) route that will also include Ellis Island where the famed Statue of Liberty stands.

The new ferry has a quartet of Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) L12ME23B hp (1,861kW) engines that are US EPA Tier IV-compliant. The propulsion is arranged so that two engines power one Reintjes DUP 3000 P combining gear and one RV6 ECS/285-2 Voith Schneider Propeller at each end of the vessel. The vessel will operate at a sprint speed of just over 17 knots and a service speed of 16.3 knots at 80 per cent of the installed EMD engines’ maximum continuous power rating.

The ship service electric power is provided by three EPA Tier III-compliant Caterpillar C18 marine generator sets that are rated at 430 kW each.

The passenger-focused enhancements include a large snack bar, heated decks to eliminate ice and snow build-up, an abundance of USB charging outlets, and unobstructed skyline views around the circumference of the bridge deck. There is also an oval upper deck promenade that will serve as an outdoor “walking track” for passengers. Aluminium bench seating has been designed to emulate the look and feel of the wooden benches of John F. Kennedy, the oldest operating vessel in the Staten Island Ferry fleet.

The vessel also has a lift to enable passengers with limited mobility to easily access the different decks.

In compliance to an existing city-wide emergency response plan, ferries operating in New York Harbor must be capable of operating in a first responder role when absolutely necessary, such as the evacuation of Lower Manhattan during the 9/11 terror attacks of 2001.

To enhance the ferry’s emergency response capabilities, it has been fitted with four 16-foot (4.8-metre) rescue boats powered by 25hp (18kW) motors, anchors and capstans at each end, and side doors amidships. The amidships doors will allow vessel-to-vessel side transfer or pier-to-vessel side transfer in addition to current end-to-end transfer capabilities that are currently part of the Staten Island Ferry standard safety procedures.

SSG Michael H. Ollis was delivered to NYCDOT in August and entered service on New York Harbor earlier this month following further post-acceptance trials and crew training.

Click here for the other news, features and reviews comprising this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

SSG Michael H. Ollis
Type of vessel: Passenger ferry
Classification: ABS; USCG Subchapter H
Flag: USA
Owner: City of New York Department of Transportation, USA
Operator: Staten Island Ferry, USA
Designer: Elliott Bay Design Group, USA
Builder: Eastern Shipbuilding Group, USA
Hull construction material: Steel
Superstructure construction material: Steel
Deck construction material: Steel
Length overall: 319 feet (97.54 metres)
Length bp: 307 feet (93.67 metres)
Beam: 69 feet (21.34 metres)
Draught: 13 feet (4.11 metres)
Depth: 20 feet (6.30 metres)
Displacement: 3,791 tons (3,440 tonnes)
Gross tonnage: 5,919
Main engines: 4 x EMD 12ME23B, each 2,495 hp (1,861 kW)
Gearboxes: 2 x Reintjes DUP 3000 P
Propulsion: 2 x Voith Schneider 36 RV6 ECS/285-2 propellers
Generators: 3 x Caterpillar C18, each 430 kW
Maximum speed: 17 knots
Cruising speed: 16.3 knots
Radars: 4 x Furuno XN20AF
GPS: Furuno GP170D
Plotters: Transas NS4000
Alarm/monitoring system: Electronic Marine Systems PMS9000 engine monitoring system
Winches: 2 x Coastal Marine 1A17-150X1-135-00 anchor winches
Capstans: 2 x Coastal Marine C14-10-61-21 mooring capstans
Other equipment installed: Passenger lift; deck heating system
Paints/coatings: International Paint
Windows: Advantect
Seating: UES
Interior lighting: Pauluhn; LC Doan; Glamox
External lighting/searchlights: Carlisle and Finch searchlights; Phoenix flood lights
Floor/deck surface finishes: Bolidt
Interior designer: Jeanine Bequette, ASID, IIDA
Firefighting equipment: Hiller Marine fire detection system; Siemens Cerberus Pro
Rescue boats: 4 x Willard Marine Sea Force 490
Type of fuel: Diesel
Fuel capacity: 37,000 gallons (140,000 litres)
Freshwater capacity: 20,541 gallons (77,756 litres)
Sewage/blackwater capacity: 4,246 gallons (16,072 litres)
Accommodation: Snack bar; upper deck promenade; restrooms
Crew: 15
Passengers: 4,500

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