Port Townsend-Coupeville ferry knocked out of service Friday

The Port Townsend-Coupeville ferry was out of service for much of Friday while repairs were being made to the Kennewick.

A steering alarm sounded on the Kwa-di Tabil class ferry for some time, Marta Coursey, spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Ferries Division, said in an email.

She said electricians and engine room staff worked on the problem while the ferry was tied up at Port Townsend. The issue related to the bow handles on the Kennewick, which would have affected the maneuverability of the vessel.

At press time, she said the United States Coast Guard had cleared the ferry to return to service, and service was expected to resume no later than the 2:15 p.m. sailing from Port Townsend.

Ferry service on the route, which normally operates on a reservation system, was offered on a first-come, first-served basis throughout Friday.

Ferry officials also looked at activating the Salish in case it must be put into service in place of the Kennewick.

The Salish is currently located at the ferry system’s maintenance facility at Eagle Harbor.

Coursey said replacement is standard procedure whenever there is a service disruption.

“Our senior port captains, senior port engineers, dispatch operators, communications and senior management evaluate the situation and devise an operating plan based on the system and customer needs, and a real time assessment of the repair issue,” Coursey said in an email.

Washington State Ferries has three vessels capable of navigating the difficult entry into Keystone Harbor on Central Whidbey — the Salish, Kennewick and Chetzemoka, which is currently serving the Point Defiance-Talequah ferry route.

With the run across Admiralty Inlet out of service, motorists were left with the lengthy journey of taking the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry and the Edmonds-Kingston ferry to travel to and from the Olympic Peninsula.


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