The Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York have kicked the Allen Marine Inc. boatbuilding shop into high gear to finish four high-speed ferries for a New Jersey-based commuter ferry company.
Tom Scheidt, Allen Marine vice president, said the first of the four Sea Otter-class boats the Sitka company is building under NY Waterway's most recent order was finished Nov. 7 and arrived in New York City in late November.
NY Waterway provides daily passenger service for commuters in the New York metropolitan area.
"Since Sept. 11, the number of passengers for New York Waterway went from 33,000 to 60,000 a day," Scheidt said. "Transportation has changed. Tunnels are down, and bridges were closed for cleaning debris ... Everything has kind of changed."
The stepped-up demand for ferry transportation increased pressure on Allen Marine to finish the four ferries under the $4 million-plus contract with NY Waterway.
Scheidt said the 40 employees in the Allen Marine shop are responding well to the urgency.
Company President "Dave Allen gave a good talk to the employees," Scheidt said. "Everyone's working overtime to get these boats built as quick as we can."
The four Sea Otter-class ferries are designed to carry 97 passengers at a speed of over 30 knots, Scheidt said.