Dorothy Day departs Eastern Shipbuilding yard

The final of three Staten Island Ferry boats departed Eastern Shipbuilding Group’s docks in Port St. Joe  Thursday afternoon, completing the company’s contract with the City of New York Department of Transportation.

The Dorothy Day was tugged out of the bay by Sarah Dann with Dann’s Ocean Towing to begin its 14-day journey around the Florida peninsula and up the eastern coastline of the United States. 

According to Joey D’Isernia, Estern Shipbuilding’s president, it’s always a good day when they can deliver on a contract. But this one, he said, is particularly sweet.

“When Hurricane Micahel hit, we had the first ferry under construction,” said D’Isernia”It had yet to be launched, but it was up on land, but it was a complete hull, and it rode out 160 mile per hour winds.”

“So being able to deliver the third of three is a big milestone for everybody in that it’s one more step closer to fully recovering from the hurricane.”

The Dorothy Day is only the third Staten Island Ferry to be named after a woman, after one named for Revolutionary War hero Mary Murray, which was decommissioned in the 1970s, and one named for Staten Island photographer Alice Austen.  

Now, Eastern Shipbuilding is working with the Weeks Marine, Inc. team on the R.B. Weeks trailing suction hopper dredge, which will undergo outfitting and sea trials in Port St. Joe.

Day, a renouned Staten Island journalist and activist, has been bestowed the title “Servant of God” and is being considered for sainthood by the Vatican.

“How providential that the ferry from lower Manhattan to Staten Island should be named after a brave, loving woman who cherished both those areas of our city and the people who live there,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.

“How appropriate that a ferry transporting people would honor a believing apostle of peace, justice and charity who devoted her life to moving people from war to peace, from emptiness to fullness, from isolation to belonging,” Dolan added.

The vessel’s class, Ollis, was named for fallen soldier of the US Army 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, ‘Climb to Glory’, Army Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis. Ollis, a Staten Island native, was killed shielding fellow soldiers from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2013.

Ollis Class ferries are larger than past models, and they are designed to function more safely in extreme weather conditions. 

The boats are designed to help implement the emergency response plan put in place by New York City following the Sept. 11 attacks and can be used in conjunction with the New York fire vessels, which are also built by Eastern Shipbuilding, in case of emergency.

Eastern Shipbuilding began work on the Ollis Class vessels shortly before their Port St. Joe facilities officially opened in July of 2021.

Port St. Joe waved goodbye to the first completed ferry, the Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis,  in August of last year and the second, the Sandy Ground,  in December of last year.

D’Isernia said that since opening the Port St. Joe yard, Eastern Shipbuilding has been able to hire a number of Gulf County residents to work at the location.

With the contract for the Staten Island Ferries complete, he said that Eastern Shipbuilding ‘s Port St. Joe yard will be working on the R.B. Weeks as well as an upcoming Ferry contract with McCalister Towing and Transportation.

“We’ve really enjoyed be a part of the St. Joe community,” said D’Isernia. “The community has been very supportive and has made us feel very welcome.”

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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