Sitka company gets $7 million order for New York ferries

PHOTO/Margaret Bauman/AJOC
SITKA -- A Sitka shipbuilder has received a $7 million contract to build more ferries for New York, an unanticipated consequence of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Allen Marine Inc. has been hired to build three 149-passenger catamarans and two 97-passenger Sea Otter class ferries for NY Waterway, a private transit company.

The ferries are to be delivered by June to replace some of the 11 chartered vessels pressed into service immediately after the attacks, said NY Waterway spokesman Pat Smith.

"In May they have to go back. We are rushing with Allen Marine to get some boats in a hurry," Smith said.

Allen Marine President David Allen said the company will work overtime to complete the order.

Allen Marine just completed a $4 million contract for four NY Waterway ferries. One ferry is in service and three are en route, company officials said.

"Our boat-builders will be working day and night to provide quality ferries worthy of New York," Allen said in a statement.

Immediately after the attacks, ferries at a terminal blocks away from the World Trade Center helped evacuate more than 160,000 people from Manhattan, Smith said.

The attacks also destroyed a vital subway terminal located under the twin towers, which made ferries essential to transporting people to and from New Jersey, he said.

The company used charter vessels, excursion vessels and whale watching ships from as far away as Maine to fill the demand, he said.

NY Waterway’s 25 ferries carry nearly 60,000 passengers a day, he said. The company has ordered 14 Allen Marine ferries during its existence, Smith said.

Each catamaran costs $1.7 million and the Sea Otter ferries cost $1 million each, Smith said.

01/13/2002 - 8:00pm