Ferry wait times extended
By Michael Cary
South Jetty reporter
Ferry boat wait times are extended to about an hour on both the Port Aransas and the Harbor Island side of the channel until repairs and maintenance are complete on four of the six boats.
All six of the ferries will be back in operation by Thursday, Feb. 12, said Howard Gillespie, director of ferry operations for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Down are the J.C. Dingwall, the B.L. DeBerry, the Arnold W. Oliver and the Mark G. Goode.
Still in operation are the R.E. Stotzer Jr. and the William G. Burnett
“The new engine on the Dingwall is under warranty, but it was using three gallons of oil per day. To prevent engine failure we called in Stewart & Stephenson Services Inc., and they are working on the ferry. I hope it will only be down a couple of hours,” Gillespie said Wednesday, Feb. 4.
Stewart & Stephenson is a Houston-based company that manufactures, distributes and provides services for a range of diesel-powered equipment such as ferry boat engines.
“The Harbor Island engine on the DeBerry failed this morning (Wednesday, Feb. 4) as it was coming across to Port Aransas. There was a problem with a stuck governor and the engine stopped and did not start,” he said. A governor is a device that regulates the speed of an engine.
The U.S. Coast Guard was on site for a possible under way inspection of the DeBerry once repairs are complete.
It is a requirement that the Coast Guard be notified when a ferry engine fails with passengers aboard, and the guard has to approve the repairs.
Gillespie said repair parts were on the way to the ferry operations office, and he said he hoped the delay would only take a few hours.
“Stewart-Stephenson has identified the parts required and they are sending out a second mechanic. I have authorized overtime for them to work until repairs are complete,” Gillespie said.
The Arnold W. Oliver is in the middle of a scheduled engine change out, in accordance with a five-year service plan.
“The engine and marine gears are going through a routine planned maintenance in preparation for Spring Break, and I hope it will be done by Monday,” Gillespie said.
The Mark G. Goode is in a Corpus Christi shipyard undergoing a two-year hull inspection and a new paint job for the hull. It also has new engines installed.
Gillespie also said a contractor is working 10-hour days to finish repairs on the ferry landings.
“All six ferries will be in operation by Feb. 12, and we anticipate that all landings and boats will be ready by Spring Break,” he said.