First of three Staten Island Ferry boats from Eastern Shipbuilding now complete

Local News

PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (WMBB) — Eastern Shipbuilding is ready to deliver the first of three Staten Island Ferries being built by the local shipbuilder.

A towboat will pull the ship on a 10-day journey around the Florida peninsula and up the East Coast to New York City.

Eastern Shipbuilding crews are busy getting the SSG Michael H. Ollis ready to travel to New York from Port St. Joe.

“The preparations you’re seeing now are for seakeeping,” said Vice President of Commercial Shipbuilding for Eastern Shipbuilding, Jamie Keel. “We’ve had to add some additional structure to the front to ensure that water doesn’t come over the bow as well as you see us boarding up the windows so that’s more or less just for protection during sea keeping.”

This is the first of three Staten Island Ferries to be built by Eastern Shipbuilding. Keel said this boat incorporates some of the latest and environmentally friendly technology available.

“I mean it’s really been brought up to a new level so you’re gonna see a much more spacious wheelhouse and crew area and just overall advance when compared to some of the stuff they have,” Keel said.

While this project was huge for the shipbuilder, Keel said it was an honor to work on the boat named after Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis.

“He died in the line of duty he’s an American hero and especially with our ties to the military here with Tyndall and just being that close to the military as a community,” Keel said. “It really means a lot for us. It’s an honor.”

The ferry boat is expected to leave for New York this Friday.

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