NTSB Report on Ferry Crash
About 1520 on October 15, 2003, the Staten Island Ferry Andrew J. Barberi, owned and operated by the New York City Department of Transportation, was near the end of a regularly scheduled trip from Manhattan to Staten Island when it allided with a maintenance pier at the Staten Island Ferry terminal. Fifteen crewmembers and an estimated 1,500 passengers were on board. Ten passengers died in the accident and 70 were injured. An eleventh passenger died 2 months later as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.
Hundreds of emergency personnel and dozens of emergency vehicles, including several vessels, responded to the accident, dispatched by the New York City Police Department, the New York City Fire Department (including emergency medical services), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Damages totaled more than $8 million, with repair costs of $6.9 million for the Andrew J. Barberi and $1.4 million for the pier.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the assistant captain’s unexplained incapacitation and the failure of the New York City Department of Transportation to implement and oversee safe, effective operating procedures for its ferries. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the failure of the captain to exercise his command responsibility over the vessel by ensuring the safety of its operations.