PORT ST JOE, Fla. (WMBB) —The “Dorothy Day” Staten Island ferry spent its last few hours in the Florida Panhandle Thursday afternoon.

It left Eastern Shipbuilding Group’s Port St. Joe facility and headed to its new home in New York City. It’s the last of three ferries built for the New York City Port Authority.

“Being able to deliver not just that first vessel but the second and now the third, it’s a really important milestone not only for our company but for the city of Port St. Joe, the city of Panama City, where these were originally started to be built,” ESG Port St. Joe President Joe D’Isernia said. “So it’s a great day, it’s a good company milestone and it’s a great company milestone.”

Eastern Shipbuilding employees worked countless hours over the last five years to complete all three of the ferries.

With the delays of Hurricane Michael, it took much longer than expected to complete this project, but the group is ecstatic they did so.

“The other two vessels have been in service for quite some time now and those vessels have performed flawlessly,” D’Isernia said.


D’Isernia said the crews who worked on the three Staten Island ferries will remember the experience for the rest of their lives.

“Being able to build such a high profile vessel like this, they’re going to see this thing on the news, they’re going to see people riding them to and from Manhattan, may be able to ride themselves,” D’Isernia said. “So it’s a really big deal and to know that all that came from right here in the Panhandle of Florida, it just shows that great things can happen in small communities”

A tug boat is towing the “Dorothy Day” all the way up the Atlantic coastline. The trip will take two weeks.

This may be the last vessel built under the Staten Island contract, but it won’t be the last ferry Eastern builds. The company has signed a contract to build a 300-foot ferry for a different customer.

“You know I’ve realized over the last four years since Hurricane Michael that we can’t do what we do each day without full community support and the community has really shown up for our company and our employees,” D’Isernia said.

D’Isernia said the ferries are the most modern and high-tech ones he has ever seen. There is also a walking track inside the vessel.