Ever since Greenpoint's East River Ferry gangway at India Street collapsed into frigid winter waters last February—just moments after morning commuters crossed it—local lawmakers have grumbled about the lack of explanation from RedSky Capital, the dock's private owner.
Today, RedSky's incident report, conducted soon after the incident, has finally come to light. And it's no surprise that the company was hesitant to explain what went wrong: The News reports that RedSky neglected to notice a broken weld submerged below the mud line. Apparently, underwater welds weren't part of "routine pier inspections."
Last summer, the Brooklyn Paper interviewed an anonymous source close to Billybey, the private ferry corporation that RedSky hired to conduct weekly inspections of its piers and gangways. According to the source, Billybey only inspected the above-water parts of the pier.
And this spring, in a follow-up investigation, the paper acquired public records showing that between the pier's construction in 2010, and October 2014 (more than six months after the collapse), neither RedSky, nor the city, inspected the soundness of the dock even once. In fact, from the Brooklyn Paper: "[T]he only time an engineer looked at the dock was to monitor the replacement of the ferry landing float in July of last year."
All of the city's private ferry operators are under the umbrella of the Economic Development Corporation, an opaque, quasi-public agency that exists to funnel city resources to private companies (in other words, it doesn't specialize in maritime safety). "The EDC is committed to making sure the landings remain safe," state Sen. Daniel Squadron told the News.
According to Brooklyn Paper findings, as recently as this March, the EDC was relying on RedSky to "self-report" its own safety inspections. We have reached out to the EDC and RedSky to see if they have inspected or created an inspection protocol since; we'll update if we hear back.
UPDATE: The EDC issued the following statement: “The Brooklyn Paper’s story from this past March is entirely inaccurate. The ferry landing at India Street was inspected weekly.” The EDC declined to provide documentation of these inspections, and referred us to Billybey. We have reached out to Billybey, and will update with any comment.