Steamship Authority looks to hire Seattle firm for review

Steamship Authority ferry
A Steamship Authority boat leaves the island of Nantucket and heads toward Hyannis. –Julia Cumes for the Boston Globe

HYANNIS, Mass. (AP) — The Steamship Authority has selected a Seattle-based consulting firm to review its operations following a rash of cancellations.

The Cape Cod Times reports that the board for the agency that provides ferry service between mainland Massachusetts and Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard voted Tuesday to enter into contract negotiations with HMS Consulting and Technical LLC.

The decision to seek independent review came after dozens of residents voiced frustrations over cancellations caused for the most part by mechanical problems. In a March report, the authority said it had experienced cancellations that are 15 times the yearly average. In one prominent incident, a ferry lost power off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard on March 17, stranding 72 passengers for five hours.

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HMS’s proposal came in about $300,000 lower than the other top contender.