VT Halter Marine Inc., a subsidiary of Vision Technologies
Systems Inc., held a keel laying ceremony today for the double-ended ferry that it is building for
the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Steamship Authority (SSA). SSA
representatives were present for the traditional celebration, which is symbolic of laying down the
foundation - the backbone and strength of a ship.
The keel laying ceremony officially commences the construction of ‘Island Home’ a 254-ft.
ferry that will carry up to 1200 passengers and 76 vehicles (cars and semi-trailers). ‘Island
Home’ will replace the 55-year old ferry ‘Islander’ in SSA’s fleet, and serve the Woods Hole to
Martha’s Vineyard route.
In addition to access for the disabled, the ferry design includes hydraulic lift decks for 16 cars,
allowing for more flexibility in the loading configuration. Powered by two direct drive EMD diesel
engines, it has a top speed of about 16 knots. Its double-ended design will allow the vessel to
head efficiently into a slip without ever having to turn around.
The sponsor of ‘Island Home’, the late Kathryn A. Roessel, was represented by her former
fiancé Mr. Nelson Smith who authenticated the keel plate in honor of her substantial
contributions to the project. He struck welding arcs and completed her name on the plate that
will be incorporated into the ship during construction.
“We are very pleased that the Island Home project has entered the construction phase, after an
in-depth, detailed design process. We are confident that the ‘Island Home’ will prove to be a
real workhorse for the Authority and its Martha’s Vineyard service route, just like the 55-year old
vessel it will be replacing. We are looking forward to delivery of the vessel in 2Q2006 and the
many service improvements it will provide.”
“VT Halter Marine is pleased to continue extending our expertise in the design and construction
of military and commercial ships to different segments of the newbuilding market. We are
confident of delivering a quality ferry that will enhance Steamship Authority’s service in the
Martha’s Vineyard route. We are very proud of the fact that ‘Island Home’ will share the
homeport of Woods Hole with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ‘Henry B.
Bigelow’, a VT Halter Marine designed
fisheries survey vessel that is under construction at one
of our facilities.”