The Block Island Times

Block Island Express files as intervenor

Claims that R.I. Fast Ferry will dock at Ballard's
By Stephanie Turaj | Aug 30, 2013

Block Island Express, which operates a summer seasonal Block Island ferry service from New London, Conn., has filed a motion to intervene in the consideration of a proposed fast ferry service that would run out of Quonset Point, R.I.

In the motion to intervene, which was sent to the R.I. Division of the Public Utilities and Carriers on Aug. 30, Block Island Express said that the new fast ferry service would add additional congestion to Block Island's Old Harbor, therefore increasing the likelihood for accidents.

The motion also claims that Rhode Island Fast Ferry, the company that has proposed the new ferry service, plans to use the dock owned by Ballard's Inn in Old Harbor. Charles Donadio, president of Rhode Island Fast Ferry, could not be reached for comment on Friday, but he has previously said that he does not know where he will dock on Block Island.

Rhode Island Fast Ferry, which runs high-speed ferries from Quonset Point to Martha’s Vineyard, has applied to the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers to operate a new high-speed service to Block Island from Quonset. This would be a summer-only service.

The motion to intervene, filed by Block Island Express' attorneys Christopher H. Little and Katharine E. Kohm, said: "RIFF's [Rhode Island Fast Ferry's] additional vessels will impact navigation and increase congestion. As a result RIFF's proposed use increases the likelihood of damaging colllisions between vessels, including potential damage to Movant's [Block Island Express'] vehicles."

The motion also claims that Rhode Island Fast Ferry plans to dock at Ballard's, which is next to the dock that Block Island express uses.  The motion states: "RIFF plans to use the dock owned by Ballards Wharf Realty [formerly known as] Marion C. Fillippi in Old Harbor (herinafter called 'Fillippi Dock'). Fillippi Dock is adjacent to Interstate Nav.'s dock. Movant docks its ferry vessels on the eastern side of Interstate Nav.'s dock, the side closest to Fillippi Dock." The motion states that this could also increase the potential for collisions.

The motion claims that this is the only dock option available to Rhode Island Fast Ferry in Old Harbor, stating that "On information and belief, the Town of New Shoreham already has rejected RIFF's application to dock on its pier."

The Town Council has made no official public opinion on Rhode Island Fast Ferry, or its docking space. There is a discussion on the Town Council agenda slated for Tuesday, Sept. 2, about Rhode Island Fast Ferry.

The motion to intervene would grant Block Island Express legal status in the hearing of the proposed ferry before the R.I. Division of the Public Utilities and Carriers.

For a more complete story, please see next Friday's edition of The Block Island Times.

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