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NY Post
New York Post
25 Mar 2023


NextImg:Poor training by NYC caused Staten Island ferry fire, union says

Poor training on the Staten Island Ferry caused the fire in the new boat Sandy Ground’s engine room, a union claims.

The Mariners Engineers’ Beneficial Association told City Council members and the National Transportation Safety Board the Dec. 22 blaze began after a fuel return valve was mistakenly shut down, causing the leak that ignited and forced at least 800 to evacuate, according to a letter from the union obtained by the Post.

However, the union said that the city never told it the fuel system on the $300 million trio of new 4,500-passenger ships — two of which were put into service last year — was different from the city’s other ferryboats, let alone train them on how to use it.

The Sandy Ground, front, was taken out of commission after the Dec. 22 fire.
N.Y.Post/Chad Rachman

Sandy Ground, a new Staten Island Ferry boat, before departing on its maiden voyage from St. George Ferry Terminal on Friday, June 17, 2022

The Mariners Engineers’ Beneficial Association told City Council members and the National Transportation Safety Board said a valve was mistakenly shut down.
James Keivom

Staten Island Ferry passenger Sal Chatman Morando is live on Facebook after a fire was reported abord the ferry boat Sandy Ground Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

Roland Rexha told the Post he thinks the city cut corners on training to fast-track the use of the new ferries.
Facebook/Sal Chatman Morando

“This quirk was not made the subject of training, nor, even, a written advisory from management,” union secretary treasurer Roland Rexha wrote in the June 11 letter.

“Training on the Ollis-class vessels has been a boondoggle since inception,” Rexha wrote.

Rexha told the Post he thinks the city cut corners on training to fast-track the use of the new ferries.

“There was a push to put these vessels into service to celebrate the fact that we had these new vessels,” Rexha said, adding that the city haphazardly tried to train union members while the boat was already carrying passengers.

“It kind of fell flat on its face,” Rexha said.