Ferry turned around to deliver capt. to another boat

CLINTON — An early-morning ferry from Clinton to Mukilteo was forced to turn around mid-route because of a personnel issue on Wednesday, but the problem may have been unrelated to the staffing troubles that have plagued the system recently.

The captain scheduled to steer the Kittitas at 5:10 a.m. arrived in Clinton the night before and spent the night on the Cathlamet, which was tied up at the dock.

He didn’t get off the Cathlamet before it pulled out at 4:40 a.m. and the Kittitas was without a captain.

The Cathlamet had to turn around to drop off the captain and then resumed its route, arriving in Mukilteo about 5:25 a.m., rider Pam Sipe of Clinton said.

“We had made it more than halfway across and they came over the loudspeaker and said that we had to return to Clinton due to a personnel issue,” Sipe said.

Sipe sent an email to the ferry system about the problem. Ferries chief David Moseley responded that he’s not sure why the captain didn’t get off the Kittitas in time.

“We didn’t miss any sailings but the boats were certainly behind schedule for the first several runs,” he said. “I really apologize for the disruption this caused the morning customers.”

He didn’t say in the email whether a similar situation has occurred before and couldn’t be reached for further comment.

In June, the ferry system cut back its personnel as a cost-saving measure. Since then, more than 50 sailings have been cancelled throughout the system because not enough crew members showed up for work. Twelve of the cancelled boats have been on the Mukilteo-Clinton run and six more on Port Townsend-Coupeville. Several others throughout the system have run late.

The reductions, in most cases one employee per boat, cut the number of staff per sailing to the minimum number required by the U.S. Coast Guard. If any one employee is absent and a replacement can’t be rounded up in time, the vessel can’t sail.

Wednesday’s incident did not appear to be related to the staff issue and likely could have happened any time, spokeswoman Marta Coursey said. The incident will be investigated, she said.

Staff sometimes will sleep on a boat depending on shift schedules, Coursey said. Sipe, who commutes from Clinton to her job at Onamac, a Boeing supplier on Airport Road, said she usually takes the boat at 5:10 a.m. but took the 4:40 a.m. on Wednesday because of the recent cancellations on the 5:10. Sipe was late for work because of a cancellation Monday morning.

She sent an email response to Moseley’s response on Wednesday.

“I think we can all agree that this is not acceptable,” she said. “I appreciate your apology, however, what I really am asking for is a solution.”

Moseley is scheduled to attend a public meeting on Thursday in Clinton to discuss the issues facing the system, including the staff problems.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.

Meeting planned

The ferry system has scheduled a meeting for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 18341 Highway 525 in Freeland, to discuss issues facing the ferry system, including recent staff problems. For more information go to http://tinyurl.com/89kf228.

More in Local News

Within an hour, 2 planes crash-land at Paine Field

One simply landed hard and went off the end of a runway. Another crash involved unextended landing gear.

Mill Creek’s Donna Michelson ready to retire at year’s end

The city’s longest-serving council member says she has every intention of staying involved.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Foundation awards grants to Arlington schools

The Arlington Education Foundation on Nov. 13 presented a check to the… Continue reading

Snohomish County firefighters head to California for 18 days

They’re from Fire District 26 in Gold Bar, Getchell Fire and Fire District 7.

State commission reprimands Snohomish County judge for DUI

Judge Marybeth Dingledy had pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a day in jail.

Driver arrested after car strikes pedestrian in Everett

The pedestrian was crossing the road near 12th Street and Broadway. He was injured.

Active Casino Road volunteer honored for work

Molina Healthcare recently honored Jorge Galindo, from Everett, as one of its… Continue reading

Over $12K raised to InspireHER

InspireHER, a local organization that encourages female empowerment, raised over $12,000 at… Continue reading

Most Read