FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The Lower Manhattan commuter ferry crash that injured dozens of people last year was the fault of the captain, who forgot to put the boat back on automatic settings before docking, investigators said this week.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators said the captain of the Seastreak Wall Street, which slammed into Pier 11 on Jan. 9, 2013, lost control of the vessel after accidentally leaving the ship running on a “seldom-used” backup system in which he was responsible for piloting it entirely manually, according to a released statement.
The captain had noticed an unusual vibration as the 331-passenger boat traveled from New Jersey to the Wall Street pier under the typical settings, and so he switched the ship into a backup mode that would allow for manual adjustments, investigators said.
However, the veteran captain, Jason Reimer, forgot to switch the system out of the manual mode, making it extremely difficult to dock the ship safely, investigators said.
As a result, the boat slammed into the landing dock at approximately 12 miles per hour, sending passengers flying on impact, officials said.
Investigators blamed Seastreak for having “no safety management system in place” to ensure that the right settings are in place before docking, and said the commuter boat needed to improve the boat's control system displays and alerts.
NTSB also said better training was needed for captains on the Seastreak’s updated system.
Seastreak did not immediately respond to a request for comment.