In 2007, the city/state agency charged with developing Governors Island, the 172-acre former Coast Guard base off Lower Manhattan, bought a Martha’s Vineyard ferry for $500,000 to help open the island to visitors.
This morning, the vessel was sold by the agency on eBay. The winning bid: $23,600.
The auction closes a less-than-glorious chapter for the agency, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, which is also facing major budget constraints (i.e. the state budget proposal doesn’t provide any money at all for GIPEC). When officials first bought the boat from the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority, supporters of the island seemed rather pleased with the purchase, which would double its fleet size and allow for far more traffic (there’s a smaller ferry that runs from Lower Manhattan to the island).
But with only a few days to inspect the boat before the purchase, the ferry was later revealed to have severe structural issues needing millions of dollars in repairs. Among other issues, 25 percent of the ship’s steel is in need of replacement, a fact found in a GIPEC report on the eBay site that details 37 pages worth of deficiencies in the ship.
The auction began Feb. 10 for $10. Two weeks and 58 bids later, the auction is done.
No word on the buyer just yet.t yet.