Mechanical failures, extreme tides put a crunch on ferry routes

Peninsula Daily News

PT ferry changes

LOW TIDES ON the route between Port Townsend and Coupeville will change ferry times today and the balance of this week.

Canceled today are Port Townsend departures at 5:15 a.m., 6:45 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., with replacement departures scheduled for 7:45 a.m. and 9:05 a.m.

Departures from the Keystone landing near Coupeville also are canceled today, with two replacement runs scheduled.

Some Port Townsend runs also are canceled Thursday, Friday and Saturday because of tidal actions. The full schedule can be found at http://tinyurl.com/pdn-ferry.

Peninsula Daily News
PORT TOWNSEND — It’s been a tough week for the Washington State Ferries system.

Two more ferries are out of service this week because of mechanical problems, causing a commuter snarl on such popular runs as the Bremerton run to Seattle.

And Mother Nature is making ferry life harder.

Four runs between Port Townsend and Whidbey Island were canceled Tuesday because of low tides, and six scheduled runs will be canceled or delayed today.

The two added ferries out of service Monday and for at least this week means five ferries are on the shelf for repairs or maintenance.

The smaller replacement boats can’t always carry the load, so a passenger-only ferry is being used this week to help on the Seattle-Bremerton run. The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run has dropped from three ferries to two.

A lot of the adjustments were called in by David Moseley, who as assistant transportation secretary is in charge of State Ferries, during his visit to Port Townsend on Monday.

He met with ferry commuters after speaking at the noontime Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Moseley said his team scrambled to make this week’s adjustments.

“From what we learned this morning, obviously our customers were impacted,” he said late Monday.

“But the services seemed to operate OK. The Salish [out of Bremerton] is slower so we were not able to maintain our schedule on the Bremerton run.

“But given all things considered, I think today, this morning, went about as well as can be expected.”

The biggest issue was with the MV Sealth. A routine inspection Friday spotted a leaky weld in the hull.

The MV Klahowya also was pulled from service after a link between the engine and generator broke Saturday night.

The new repairs come as cancellations pile up this year thanks, in part, to a steep increase in ferry workers calling in sick.

Despite the recent problems, there is good news on the horizon: One of the system’s larger ferries, MV Tacoma, will return to service on the Bainbridge Island route Friday. Other vessels will follow in the coming weeks.

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PDN news partner KOMO-TV contributed to this report.

Last modified: December 11. 2012 6:02PM
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