OH: New Put-in-Bay ferry designs were flawed, costing Miller Boat Line about $8 million, lawsuit says

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — A new ferry to ferry people to Put-in-Bay was so poorly designed it had to be partially rebuilt, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

Miller Boat Line has sued Elliott Bay Design Group, the designer and engineer of the new Mary Ann Market boat which the company originally expected to be completed by September 2019.

Design flaws by Seattle-based Elliott Bay caused a host of regulatory and safety issues that set the project back nearly three years and cost Miller some $8 million, according to the lawsuit. It also cost the shipbuilder, Fraser Shipyards Inc. of Wisconsin, at least $500,000, according to the lawsuit.

Miller Boat Line spokeswoman Julene Market said in a statement that the company had spent “a lot of resources” on the new ferry.

“Due to re-engineering and modifications, we have engaged law firms to recover these costs,” Market’s statement said. “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the Mary Ann Market and look forward to welcoming her to our home soon.”

Stephanie Gullickson, spokeswoman for Elliott Bay Design Group, referred a reporter to the company’s attorneys, who did not respond.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Toledo and assigned to U.S. District Judge James Knepp II.

The ferry, named after the company’s late owner, was designed to be 140 feet long. It is designed to carry 600 passengers and 28 vehicles.

Miller contracted with Elliott Bay in 2017 and 2018 for the design and engineering and to obtain clearance from the US Coast Guard and other regulatory agencies.

Due to the flaws, the ferry had to be redesigned, redesigned and rebuilt, according to the lawsuit.

Miller’s attorney, Thomas Rosenberg, said in a phone interview that the company has hired new engineers to repair the ship, which remains at a shipyard in Wisconsin. He said the company expects the ferry to be ready to start carrying passengers in August.

“We have a new engineer involved, and we’re excited he can be in Put-in-Bay and ready to go this summer,” Rosenberg said.

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