Ferry Captain Pleads the Fifth
Thursday, November 06, 2003
At 10 a.m. today, Michael Gansas, Captain of the Staten
Island ferry, Andrew J. Barberi, exercised his Fifth
Amendment right when he appeared before the National
Transportation Safety Board. The Captain provided his name
and age and refused to answer any questions relating to the
safety investigation on the grounds that his responses may
incriminate him. The United States District Court yesterday
enforced an NTSB subpoena and ordered the Captain to appear
before Board investigators for an interview.
"We hope we will be able to talk to Captain Gansas in
the future," said NTSB Chairman Ellen G. Engleman. "Our
investigation into this tragedy continues and I am confident
we will learn the circumstances that led to this accident."
As part of its ongoing investigation, NTSB
investigators have conducted over 50 witness interviews
including passengers and all crewmembers except the captain
and pilot. Investigators have interviewed 2 of the mates, 8
deck hands, and 4 engineers. These interviews will be used
to formulate a chronology of events prior to and during
impact, and after the accident.
The team has completed both aerial and surface
observations of the approach to St. George Terminal
following normal ferry tracks and the Barberi track on the
day of the accident. Investigators also reviewed Staten
Island Ferry operating procedures and policies and personnel
records of both the Captain and the pilot.
The investigation is expected to take up to 12 months,
but safety recommendations may be issued at any time. Any
further pertinent factual information will be released as it