Thursday, January 28, 2016

Washington’s Oldest Ferry Decommissioned

By Mark Edward Nero

The oldest ferry in Washington, the M/V Evergreen State, which was built in 1954, is set to sail into history. The vessel has been decommissioned and is being put up for sale, the state Dept. of Transportation has said.

The 87-car ferry, which has World War II surplus drive motors, has served as a workhorse for tens of thousands of passengers and vehicles in Washington for more than six decades.

The Evergreen State was the largest ferry on the West Coast when it was built to serve the Seattle/Bainbridge route. However, it spent the majority of its storied career in the San Juan Islands, where it was involved in several rescues at sea. Its crew also saved the life of an overturned kayaker near Fauntleroy in January 2003.

The recent addition of two modern, larger and faster Olympic-class vessels to the fleet means the Evergreen State is no longer the best solution for moving people and goods across our state’s waters, said Washington State Ferries Chief of Staff Elizabeth Kosa.

“Difficulty locating replacement parts and maintaining a vintage vessel are also factors that make it time for the E-State to retire,” she said.

The 62-year-old ferry was originally slated for decommissioning in spring 2015, but was called back into service over the summer while other vessels were out of service for maintenance or repairs. With two additional 144-car Olympic-class ferries currently under construction, Evergreen State is expected to soon be offered up for sale. Potential buyers will be able to bid for the vessel once it’s posted for sale through the state surplus process.

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