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Pequot-Owned Ferry Service Joins Rescue Effort in NYC

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GLEN COVE, Long Island -- As workers in lower Manhattan clamored to flee the scene of Tuesday's terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the two high-speed ferry boats of Mashantucket Pequot-owned Fox Navigation went into service for emergency evacuation.

The attack came as the ferry service finished its last morning run from Long Island's north shore.

"We had just dropped off our last group of passengers at Pier 11," Director of Operations Nilda Bracero told ICT. "We were sending our boats to New Jersey to dock for the day when we got an order from the Department of Transportation to evacuate passengers from Pier 11 to Long Island."

The two boats made a total of four round trips each to Glen Cove, taking out about 285 passengers on each run and bringing back doctors and emergency personnel. Only one of the passengers was seriously injured, said Bracero, but with the large number of medical help on the scene, she was quickly treated.

Fox Navigation and the city of Glen Cove provided transportation in Long Island to take the evacuees home.

On the last run to Manhattan, said Bracero, the boat carried doctors and nurses bound for St. Vincent's Hospital near the disaster area, the center for treating survivors. But the hospital had such a surplus of medical help, said Bracero, "we eventually were asked to go back."

On Wednesday, she said, the fleet stood by in Glen Cove on emergency alert. It would resume regular service when the financial markets reopened, she said.

Fox Navigation began service from Long Island to lower Manhattan this May, the only ferry plying that route. Its Manhattan destination, Pier 11, lies just south of the historic South Street Seaport and directly across the island from the World Trade Center, a 15-minute walk away.

The service makes three runs each morning and evening using two high-speed catamaran ferries, the Sassacus and the Tatobam. "Sassacus", meaning "He is fierce" in the Pequot language, is named for chief sachem of the tribe from 1634 to 1637. The boats have a top cruising speed of 50 knots.

Fox Navigation continues the sea-faring tradition of the southeastern Connecticut tribe. Its chairman Richard Hayward is the former chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation responsible for opening the extremely profitable Foxwoods Casino Resort. He is also a former worker in New London's shipbuilding industry.