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A Retired Staten Island Ferry is Up For Auction For $155,000

Ferry Andrew J. Barberi
The Andrew J. Barberi under way (Daniel Schwen / CC BY SA 4.0)

Published May 20, 2024 9:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

One of the most iconic vessels in the world is up for auction this month, and the price is surprisingly affordable. The Staten Island Ferry Andrew J. Barberi, which was decommissioned last year, is on sale at a starting price of just $155,000. There is a catch: her engine room controls and bridge instruments have been stripped out, and she is being sold on an "as-is, where-is basis." The successful bidder will need to arrange a tow within 20 days of the auction's close. 

The Barberi is a 6,000-passenger, 300-foot-long ferry that made the hourly run from the Battery to Staten Island for decades. She delivered in 1981, and brought the maneuverability of a Voith-Schneider propulsion system to replace steam-powered predecessors. 

Barberi will also be remembered for two terrible accidents that occurred on board. In 2003, Barberi hit a pier due to pilot error, killing 11 people. In 2010, the Barberi sustained a failure in a propulsion control system and lost ability to maneuver, and she hit a terminal and injured 37 passengers,

Her retirement has been in the planning since 2012, when the Staten Island Ferry began the process of designing and building its new Ollis-class vessels. 

"NYC DOT has been upgrading our ferry fleet through generational investments to improve service and bring new amenities for riders - allowing older vessels to be retired?," an agency spokesman told local media in a statement last month. "We will have more information soon on NYC DOT’s plans to commemorate the Andrew J. Barberi."

Prospective bidders can see the vessel's exerior at her layberth in St. George, Staten Island, and interior photos are available at the auction site. As of May 20, no bids have been received. 

The last Staten Island Ferry auctioned off was the 1965-built John F. Kennedy, and it brought in a final sale price of $280,000. It was purchased by the well-known comedians Pete Davidson and Colin Jost, who had plans to turn it into an entertainment venue - a time-honored second act for former ferries. The planning for their refurbishment project is still under way.