Sleepy ferry engineer ‘happy’ to have his job back

Fresh from his midday nap, the Staten Island Ferry crewman caught asleep at the controls told The Post he’s “happy I got my job back.”

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Timothy Wood, 47, was on his way to work at about 4:30 pm Saturday when he praised the ruling by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lynn Kotler that scuttled the city’s attempt to demote the sleepy seaman, and granted him 340 hours of lost OT pay, worth about $23,800.

A few hours earlier, his wife had shooed The Post away from their Staten Island home, saying that Wood was, naturally, still sleeping.

Wood was suspended for 30 days and then demoted after a camera captured him nodding off while the ferryboat John F. Kennedy was docking during rush hour on Sept. 22, 2015.

The city Department of Transportation demoted the chief marine engineer to marine engineer, saying he was a danger to passengers. But Wood’s union fought the demotion, saying there was no rule against sleeping during your shift.

On Saturday the somnolent sailor expressed no remorse for catching Zzs with a boatload of passengers.

Instead he whined about the “double punishment” of being suspended and then having to appeal his demotion. He referred a reporter’s questions to his union.

Wood got no sympathy from victims of the deadly 2003 Staten Island Ferry crash caused by a captain similarly asleep at the wheel.

James McMillan, who lost use of his arms and legs 14 years ago in the horrific dock collision that killed 11 people and injured 70 others, said sleepyhead Wood deserved “a kick in the ass,” not his job back with a bonus.

“If I could have went to court, he wouldn’t have a job nowhere,” McMillan fumed.

“These people have your life in your hands!” seethed McMillan, 54, who was a construction worker before the crash on the Andrew Barberi ferryboat left him a quadraplegic.

Wood’s cash bonus stunned Paul Esposito, who lost both his legs when the Barberi — piloted by Capt. Richard Smith, who nodded off after taking painkillers and blood-pressure meds — slammed full-speed into the St. George Ferry terminal dock.

“It just doesn’t seem logical to me,” said Esposito, 38. “Taxpayers and people riding the boat are paying for this mistake that could have been deadly.”

Wood is fond of overtime, a ferry source told The Post. Before the shift where he nodded off, the source said, he had worked 10-to-12 hour shifts for more than a week straight. “He hadn’t had a day off in eight or nine days,” the source said. “That’s his M.O. — mega days, mega hours.”

City payroll records show Wood earned $154,000 last year despite being demoted to marine engineer, with a base pay of $65,000.

The chief engineer’s job involves monitoring the ferry’s propulsion and steering systems to make sure they are working properly. While the newer ferries have backups that kick in when something goes wrong, that’s not the case for the 3,000-seat Kennedy, which started service in 1965.

“It does get boring,” the source said, but it’s important to remain alert at the control panel. “The real issue is working so many days straight. And that’s on him; that’s what he chose to do.”

The court decision to allow Wood to regain his chief’s position upset passenger Steven Rosen, 63, of Bayonne, who said he takes the boat to work because he doesn’t trust New Jersey Transit’s safety record.

“Now I might have to take the chance on them, if I’m at risk of crashing,” he said.

Source: https://nypost.com/2018/01/06/sleepy-ferry-engineer-happy-to-have-his-job-back/

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