The ferry Sandy Ground splashes into the water at Eastern Shipbuilding’s Allanton, Fla., shipyard. (Photo courtesy of Eastern Shipbuilding Group)

Eastern Shipbuilding Launches New Staten Island Ferry

Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. launched the mv. Sandy Ground on June 26. It’s the second of three new Staten Island “Ollis Class” ferries for the City of New York Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Staten Island Ferry Division.

The launch of the 320-foot vessel took place at Eastern’s Allanton facility in Panama City, Fla.

CEO Brian D’Isernia hosted the launch ceremony, with Eastern’s employees, families, state and local government officials and guests in attendance. His remarks detailed Eastern’s accomplishments since Hurricane Michael, 18 months ago, as well as meeting the challenges of building and delivering vessels during the COVID-19 pandemic. He expressed pride in Eastern Shipbuilding workforce and families for adjusting their work processes and lifestyles and continuing to provide what he called an outstanding performance despite those hurdles.

The new Staten Island Ollis Class ferries are named after Army Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, a fallen soldier of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division. Ollis, a Staten Island native, was killed in Afghanistan on August 28, 2013, serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. The first of the series, Hull 219, is named in his honor.

Ollis, of the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), stepped into the path of a Polish officer, blocking him from the suicide vest of an insurgent who had raided Forward Operating Base Ghazni. Ollis has received several honors posthumously including: Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Silver Star, The Audie Murphy Medallion, Polish Gold Star Medal of Honor and the Afghanistan Star from Poland for his valor. He was 24 years old.

Eastern is providing regulatory and detailed production engineering, vessel construction and delivery of the three new Staten Island Ollis Class ferries to NYCDOT and the Staten Island ferry division. The three double-ended, 4,500-passenger ferries are from a design provided by Elliot Bay Design Group, with each ferry featuring four ABS Electro-Motive Diesel 12-710 EPA Tier 4 marine propulsion engines powering an ABS Reintjes DUP 3000 P combining gear and an ABS 36 RV6 ECS/285-2 Voith Schneider propeller at each end of the vessel. Power generation is provided by three ABS EPA Tier 3 marine continuous duty diesel generator sets, Caterpillar C18 driving 480 V, 60 hz, three-phase generators rated at 425 kw. at 0.8 P.F. at 1,800 rpm.