The Pensacola Bay ferries were badly damaged during Hurricane Sally

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Pensacola, Fl

Each of the National Park Service ferries suffered major damage when Hurricane Sally struck Pensacola.

The storm pushed the edges of the two boats to the flank off Commendencia Avenue, and crashed through the surrounding wall.

A crew with HMS Ferries, the operator of Pensacola Bay Cruises, was offshore to inspect the damage Thursday morning. Joe Asepedo, General Manager of HMS Ferries, declined to comment on the damage and referred questions to Gulf Islands National Seashore.

In a statement released Thursday, Dan Brown, the Gulf Islands National Beach Supervisor, said information on the boats was “very limited”.

“Marine lifeguards are conducting an on-site assessment, but they may need to move the boats to another location for a full under-hull evaluation. We hope to have updated information later today,” Dan Brown, the Gulf Islands National Shore Supervisor, said in a statement. Thursday.

Members of the public were walking around the dock Thursday morning, evading a yellow warning tape and taking videos on cell phones. The windows of the 150-seater boats were also smashed and ropes tied around nearby trees.

The two ferries dock in downtown Pensacola, and usually depart from there to Pensacola Beach and then to Fort Pickens in the Gulf Islands National Beach.

Ferries have a long history of misfortune since they were bought with $ 4 million in oil spill compensation for BP 2010 and a federal grant of $ 1.2 million.

Gulf Coast Maritime Service, the original ferry operator, refused to sign another contract, citing fewer passengers and higher operating costs after the 2018 season. At the time, the company owner said he had lost more than $ 300,000 in less than six months.

Gulf Coast Maritime Service, the original ferry operator, refused to sign another contract, citing fewer passengers and higher operating costs after the 2018 season. At the time, the company owner said he had lost more than $ 300,000 in less than six months.

Escampia County Commissioner Robert Bender, who represents the beach, said the province of Escambia had hoped to better market ferries and other transportation options to the beach this season to help ease beach traffic in the future.

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