GALVESTON — A $24 million vessel christened in November and meant to shorten the wait at ferry lines in Galveston and on Bolivar Peninsula has yet to transport its first passengers.
For seven months during sea trials, crew training and inspections, the John W. Johnson has been plagued by technology and equipment failures, system operations issues and hardware and software problems that prevented the newest ship in the Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry fleet from passing U.S. Coast Guard inspections, state officials confirm.
The Texas Department of Transportation, which operates the fleet that ferries vehicles and passengers between Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula, said various problems have kept the vessel out of operation. The most recent being that computer systems controlling its propulsion units kept defaulting to a backup safety system. No one has been able to pinpoint why that’s happening, Raquelle Lewis, a transportation department spokeswoman, said.
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