First vessel in new Staten Island Ferry class is headed for NYC

Written by Nick Blenkey
New ferry under tow

Delivery of new ferry under tow will take 12 days

Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. (ESG) reports that it has completed the first of three new Staten Island “Ollis Class” ferries for the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Staten Island Ferry Division.

The ferry, the SSG Michael H. Ollis, Hull 219, departed ESG’s Port St. Joe, Fla., facility today, fully certified and passenger ready.

Dann Ocean Towing’s Colonel is towing the ferry from Port St. Joe, to New York City. The trip will take approximately 12 days. On arrival in New York, the ferry will be staged at Caddell Dry Dock for cleaning and another round of trials and training. It is scheduled to begin transporting passengers in the Fall.

The Ollis Class is named for Staten Island native Army Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, who was killed in Afghanistan on August 28, 2013, when he stepped into the path of a Polish officer, blocking him from the suicide vest of an insurgent who had raided Forward Operating Base Ghazni. Ollis was 24 years old.

“We are proud to deliver Staten Island Ferry MV SSG Michael H. Ollis to New York City fully certified and passenger-ready,” said Joey D’Isernia, President of Eastern Shipbuilding Group. “It is the first vessel of the modernized fleet and boasts the most advanced technology and environmental engineering in the maritime industry. It’s been an honor for Eastern to build this class named after one of our fallen heroes and deliver state of the art vessels for the world’s busiest passenger-ferry route. This iconic vessel transports millions of tourists and residents every year. It is a critical maritime infrastructure project that was proudly built by hardworking American ship designers and builders.”

ESG is providing regulatory and detailed production engineering, vessel construction, and delivery of the three new Staten Island Ollis Class Ferries. The ferries have been constructed in ESG’s Allanton yard. ESG’s newest facility in Port St. Joe, Florida performed the outfitting, testing, and trials tasks. The vessels have been a local attraction and significant source of economic development in the Gulf Region.

The new ferries are larger, incorporate modern technology, and will operate more safely in extreme weather conditions. They feature popular design elements of past Staten Island Ferries and new customer-service amenities such as more comfortable seating and phone-charging outlets and an oval upper-deck promenade that will for the first time serve as an outdoor “walking track” for ferry riders. They have the latest in marine technology for energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.

There are design features on the vessels that are part of the New York City emergency response plan. Lessons from 9/11 have been built into this fleet and they can be connected to the New York fire vessels, also built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group, to support evacuations and rescue.

The three Ollis Class double ended 4,500 passenger ferries, are built to a design provided by Elliott Bay Design Group, with each ferry featuring four Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) L12ME23B @ 750 rpm EPA Tier 4 marine propulsion engines with two engines powering one Reintjes DUP 3000 P combining gear and one 36 RV6 ECS/285-2 Voith Schneider Propeller at each end of the vessel. Power generation is provided by three Caterpillar C18 S, EPA Tier 3 marine continuous duty diesel generator sets, driving 480 V, 60 Hz, 3-phase generators rated at 425 kW at 0.8 P.F. @ 1800 rpm.


A highlight of this year’s Marine Log FERRIES conference will be an in-person tour of the SSG Michael H. Ollis. Attendees will get a guided tour of the vessel’s pilothouse, engineroom, and its passenger spaces.

NYCDOT will also allow guests to explore its full mission pilothouse simulator. Designed as a close reproduction of the Ollis Class pilothouse, the simulator features the same Furuno radars and Transas ECS units as the ferries.

A Q&A session will conclude the tour on the saloon deck of the ferry.

Ferry seen from side
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