VDOT News - Hampton Roads
Lauren Hansen 757-925-1660
Aug. 8, 2013
JAMESTOWN-SCOTLAND FERRY INCIDENT UNDER SAFETY INVESTIGATION
JAMESTOWN – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) continues to investigate the traffic incident that occurred on the evening of Wed., Aug. 7, involving the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry vessel, Surry. Following an inspection by the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the Surry has been returned to service.
According to results from VDOT’s preliminary investigation, the Surry did not malfunction. Employed by VDOT since Sept. 25, 2012, the VDOT ferry captain was placed on suspension immediately following the incident pending investigation.
“We are acting swiftly to complete our investigation and are coordinating with Virginia State Police and the United States Coast Guard,” said District Administrator, Jim Utterback. “Those found responsible will be held accountable. We are unaware of a similar incident of this nature in the past decade and will take necessary measures to ensure the public’s safety when using the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry Service,” said Utterback.
The minimum qualifications for a VDOT ferry captain are U.S. Coast Guard License of Master 1600 gross tons, on inland waters; Radar Observer Certificate; Marine Radio Operator Permit and Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC).
In accordance with routine procedures for maritime accidents, VDOT contacted the USCG for investigation and other law enforcement agencies as appropriate. The internal VDOT investigation involves engaging the Office of Employee Safety and Health to conduct appropriate screenings, interview witnesses, and assess any other available information. The captain and crewmembers were also tested for alcohol and drug use, as required by the USCG and VDOT. The USCG is lead in a formal investigation.
At approximately 8 p.m., Wed, Aug. 7, a vehicle was boarding the Surry vessel when the ferry began disembarking from the Jamestown dock. This resulted in a vehicle driving into the James River from the loading ramp. VDOT immediately contacted Virginia State Police, James City County Police, James City County Fire and Rescue, USCG and Internal Department resources to assist with the incident. During the on-site investigation, service was suspended. Ferry operations resumed at 5:45 a.m., Thurs., Aug. 8, 2013, after the vehicle was removed from the water.
All operational and safety protocols and procedures associated with loading and unloading the ferry are under review by VDOT management. Any necessary changes will be incorporated.
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