Panama City, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis joined Eastern Shipbuilding Group for the launch of the SSG Michael H. Ollis. The SSG Michael H. Ollis is an Ollis Class double-ended 4,500 passenger ferry under construction for the City of New York Department of Transportation Staten Island Ferry Division.
“Florida has long held a strong partnership with Eastern Shipbuilding Group which is one of the leading economic drivers and employers in Northwest Florida, something I know this community is very proud of,” said Governor DeSantis. “Thank you Eastern Shipbuilding Group for all the hard work you do. I look forward to seeing more accomplishments like today’s in the near future.”
Photo Credit: Governor’s Press Office
“We appreciate the Governor being here today for the launch of the SSG Michael H. Ollis,” said President of Eastern Shipbuilding Group Joey D’Isernia. “His support has been critical to the recovery of our shipyard and our community.”
The ferry was named after Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, a native of Staten Island and a U.S. Army soldier who served in Afghanistan, where he was ultimately killed. As their Operating Base was being bombarded with grenades, mortars and rockets, Staff Sgt. Ollis died while shielding a Polish officer from a suicide bomber. Giving his life to save another, Staff Sgt. Ollis died a hero, and this namesake ship honors his memory.
Located along the Gulf Coast in Panama City, ESG was established in 1976 for the purpose of constructing commercial fishing boats. ESG has since transformed into one of today’s leading innovators in the marine industry with a portfolio of over 350 vessels. Through its state-of-the-art production line and fabrication process, ESG is one of the most diverse vessel construction companies in the world.