Captain taken out of service after ferry grounding

MBTA ferry runs aground near Long Island in Boston Harbor
An MBTA ferry ran aground Friday morning near Long Island in Boston Harbor and four people were injured. (Shelby Lum|Globe Staff)

The captain of a Boston-bound MBTA ferry that ran aground Friday morning in heavy fog near Long Island has been taken off the job pending the results of a standard drug test.

The captain, whose name wasn’t disclosed, was taken out of service after the MV Lightning, struck rocks on the shore at about 7:45 a.m. Friday, the MBTA said Saturday.

The drug test is routinely administered following serious incidents, the agency said. The captain works for Boston Harbor Cruises, which operates the ferry for the MBTA.

Four passengers sustained minor injuries when the ferry ran aground about 15 minutes after it left Hull. At the time, the ferry was carrying 81 passengers and three crew members.


The MBTA said Friday that the ferry changed course to avoid colliding with a sports fishing vessel that suddenly cut in front of it.

The US Coast Guard, which is investigating the incident, has said it hasn’t determined what happened.

“We don’t know the boat was cut off,” Coast Guard Lieutenant Hannah Gribbin told reporters on Friday, according to WBUR.

The investigation was ongoing Saturday, said Petty Officer Nicole Groll, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

“This is not necessarily going to be a fast investigation,” she said.

J.P. Vega, operations manager for Boston Harbor Cruises, alerted the Coast Guard that the ferry had struck rocks, the Coast Guard said Friday in a statement.

Vega’s call, which was recorded, was being reviewed by investigators and couldn’t be released Saturday, Groll said.

Rescuers evacuated passengers onto several boats, which took them to Long Wharf in Boston. Injured passengers were transported to Flynn Cruiseport in South Boston, where emergency medical responders escorted them to area hospitals, the Coast Guard said.

The ferry traveled on its own power to a dock in Charlestown and was scheduled to head to Gloucester Saturday for repairs.


Boston Harbor Cruises has said it has a large fleet and doesn’t expect that the damage to the MV Lightning will impact commuter ferry service.

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.