Hull crack idles Port Townsend-Whidbey Island ferry service indefinitely

PORT TOWNSEND – The North Olympic Peninsula’s ferry link to the northern Interstate 5 corridor was severed Monday afternoon by a crack discovered in the hull of the MV Klickitat.

Ferries officials said the Klickitat – the only Washington State Ferry on the run between Port Townsend and Keystone on Whidbey Island – will be out of commission indefinitely until it can be drydocked for repair.

Another issue is finding dry-dock space, which is not available around Puget Sound during the high-demand season prior to summer.

Repair will take an estimated two weeks, once the dry-dock space is freed up, said Washington State Ferries director of marine operations, Traci Brewer-Rogstad.

“We’re taking a look at what kinds of things we could do to adjust the vessel schedule. We just don’t have a vessel available right now,” Brewer-Rogstad said.

“We may get another boat up there. We’re hoping.”

The 75-vehicle Steel Electric Klickitat, originally built in 1927 and rebuilt in 1981, sat idle late Monday at the Port Townsend holding dock next to the ferry landing.

The crack in a weld was found during routine engineering inspections at about 2 a.m. Saturday, Brewer-Rogstad said.

“It was a small crack, not a seeping or weeping crack,” she said.

“There was a wet area in hull where it shouldn’t be wet – in a weld.”

The crack was welded Saturday, which shut down the ferry run until 3:45 p.m.

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