Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Washington Ferries Out for Emergency Repairs

By Mark Edward Nero

All available backup Washington State Ferries vessels have been called into service this week while two larger ferries are out for emergency repairs between Mon., July 20 and Wed., July 22.

The 202-vehicle ferry Puyallup is out of service for three days while crews inspect an engine that broke down June 20. Also, the 48-year-old Elwha is out of service for roughly four months for extensive repairs to a drive motor.

The 188-car Walla Walla is temporarily filling in for the Puyallup on the Seattle/Bainbridge route from July 20 to July 22.

“Adding two new Olympic-class vessels in the last year and a half allows us to call on our older ferries when we need them,” said Lynne Griffith, the Washington State Dept. of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Ferries. “Thanks to state lawmakers, we’ve got a third vessel under construction and plans for a fourth are in motion. In the meantime, the fleet is stretched thin.”

In order to maintain service across the entire system, Washington State Ferries has adjusted the sailing schedule and assigned the backup vessels Evergreen State, Tillikum and Hiyu to two routes.

The Edmonds/Kingston route is expanding from a two-boat schedule to a three-boat schedule. The 87-car Tillikum and Evergreen State will join the 188-car Spokane.

The Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth routes are shifting from a three-boat schedule to a two-boat schedule, with supplementary service provided by the 34-car Hiyu. The 124-car Issaquah and Cathlamet will also serve the route.

Customers traveling on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route should expect longer-than-usual wait times, according to Washington State Ferries.