Chetzemoka runs aground at Coupeville ferry terminal

The Tuesday evening sailings of the Chetzemoka were canceled after the ferry system's newest vessel ran aground in Keystone Harbor.

Ferry officials said the 64-car ferry experienced a "soft grounding" alongside the western side of Keystone Harbor at approximately 6 p.m. Tuesday evening as it was sailing to the Coupeville terminal, according to a news release provided by Washington State Ferries.

Crews were dealing with 44-knot (50 mph) winds and 3.3 knot (3.75 mph) currents during the approach into Keystone Harbor to complete the 5:15 p.m. sailing from Port Townsend.

No crew or passenger injuries were reported, according to the release.

At approximately 10 p.m., divers arrived at the Coupeville ferry terminal to conduct a full hull inspection while it was moored on the Whidbey Island side of Admiralty Inlet. There wasn't any significant damage except a few small nicks on the leading edge of the propeller. The inspection was completed early Wednesday morning and the Chetzemoka sailed to Port Townsend in time to start Wednesday's scheduled sailings beginning at 6:30 a.m.

The Chetzemoka missed five sailings Tuesday night: the 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and the 9:15 p.m. sailings from Coupeville along with the 6:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. sailings from Port Townsend.

The Chetzemoka is the only vessel in the ferry system's fleet capable of navigating through the difficult entry into Keystone Harbor. The ferry started service in mid-November, nearly three years to the day that the Steel Electrics were retired from service due to safety problems.

Because of the canceled sailings, riders had the unenviable task of taking ferries at Clinton and Edmonds in order to get to and from the Olympic Peninsula.

State ferries officials are not releasing the names of the crew members working on the Chetzemoka until an investigation is complete.

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