On October 15, 2003, the MV Andrew J. Barberi, made its approach at Staten Island, packed with commuters from Manhattan. Inexplicably, the ship failed to slow down, slamming sideways into the pier.
History of MV Andrew J. Barberi
The MV Andrew J. Barberi is one of two Barberi-class ferry boats operated as part of the Staten Island Ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island in New York City, besides MV Samuel I. Newhouse. With a capacity of 6,000, she is among the highest-capacity boats in the ferry’s fleet. Since her introduction in 1981, she has had a history of incidents, including a 2003 crash that killed eleven people and a 2010 crash that injured thirty-seven.
Some of the official investigation’s findings were:
Andrew J. Barberi was named after the longtime coach of Curtis High School’s football team, who had died shortly before the ship was commissioned. Barberi coached throughout the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s and was instrumental in the development of scholastic football on Staten Island
On March 8, 2005, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published a report on its investigation into the incident. The NTSB determined the probable cause of the collision was the assistant pilot’s unexplained sudden incapacitation, with a contributory cause of the Master’s failure to maintain command and control of his vessel. 60 Minutes uncovered that the assistant pilot was short on sleep when he crashed the boat.
The assistant pilot tried to commit suicide after the crash and admitted he had passed out on painkillers in the boat’s pilothouse. He later pleaded guilty to 11 counts of seaman’s manslaughter. The ferry director also pleaded guilty after failing to enforce a rule requiring that ferries be operated by two pilots.
Andrew J. Barberi was rebuilt in West Brighton, Staten Island by Caddell Dry Dock & Repair Co. and on July 1, 2004, returned to regular service.