Steel Electrics to set sail to oblivion

The four Steel Electrics ferries that served the Port Townsend-to-Keystone route for many years will make one more trip down Admiralty Inlet starting next week.

Two of the four vessels, the Nisqually and the Quinault, will be removed from their tie-up location at Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island and will be towed to Ensenada, Mexico, where they will be recycled. They will be removed the week of Aug. 3.

Officials don't have an exact date the ferries will be towed away yet.

The two remaining ferries, the Illahee and the Klickitat, will be towed sometime around the middle of August.

The ferry system pulled the four Steel Electrics, which were built in 1927, from service in November 2007 due to safety concerns. Because of that, the Port Townsend-to-Keystone ferry route didn't have a vehicle ferry until the ferry system leased the Steilacoom II from Pierce County. Officials hope to use that ferry until a permanent ferry is built around the summer of 2010.

Washington State Ferries sold the four Steel Electrics in June to Eco Planet Recycling for $200,000.

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