Third and final Staten Island Ferry launched Friday in Panama City

Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 9:20 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Panama City is leaving its fingerprints on a 200-year-old iconic transportation system. The Staten Island Ferry service is the largest passenger-only ferry service in the world.

“As a representative of Staten Island, it’s not only symbolic for us, but it’s very much an intricate part of our transportation,” New York congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis said.

Malliotakis said she’s honored to attend Friday’s third and final Staten Island Ferry launch. Local Eastern Shipbuilding Group got the opportunity to build the fleet’s three newest ferries.

“It’s the Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry fleet is iconic,” Eastern Shipbuilding Group President Joey Disernia said.

Disernia said the bid process was competitive. He says all qualified shipyards in the U.S. went after this multi-million dollar project.

“It’s a very high-profile project. One that we were excited to get and equally excited to perform well on,” said Disernia.

Disernia said this is a huge economic driver. He adds Eastern Shipbuilding is the largest private employer in the area. For every shipbuilding job he said, it creates more than 2,000 indirect jobs.

“Although they look like they would be a very simple project, they’re quite complex,” said Disernia.

Malliotakis said these ferries are a big part of their economy as well.

“It’s important that we have these new class of ferries to be able to keep up with population growth and economic growth,” said Malliotakis.

Disernia said the project took three years from start to finish. The 4,500 passenger ferry will eventually run 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Disernia said it’s an important day because the city’s thumbprint will be on this vessel forever.

This ferry will spend the next few months going through final trials before making its way up to New York. It’s set to start carrying passengers between Manhattan and Staten Island in early 2022.

Disernia said Eastern Shipbuilding Group will be in the running to build future Staten Island Ferries.

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