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Rudder problem prompts canceled sailings

Ferry officials aren’t elaborating on what caused a reported rudder problem that canceled several sailings Wednesday afternoon of the Port Townsend to Keystone route.

The Steilacoom II, the vehicle ferry Washington State Ferries leased from Pierce County, experienced a rudder problem and four trips were canceled Wednesday afternoon before workers fixed the problem, according to an email from Laura Johnson, spokesperson from Washington State Ferries. Ferry service resumed with the 5:15 p.m. sailing from Port Townsend.

Despite repeated attempts at contact, ferry officials wouldn’t provide additional details about the rudder problem.

Ferry cancellations often take place on the Keystone route. In addition to recent cancellations due to tidal conditions, the Steilacoom II was pulled from service in January for weeks to go into drydock for maintenance and inspections.

Washington State Ferries lease with Pierce County for the Steilacoom II expires in August, however, the first boat isn’t scheduled to be completed until the middle of 2010.

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