Fried engine sidelines state ferry Walla Walla

EDMONDS — The state ferry Walla Walla will be out of service indefinitely after it suffered an engine meltdown during recent maintenance.

The ferry has been assigned to the Edmonds-Kingston route and was slated to go back into service soon on that route.

The incident happened while the 188-car vessel was in for routine, regularly scheduled maintenance work Sunday, spokeswoman Marta Coursey said.

A failure in one of the drive motors left parts of the ferry near the engine melted and charred.

The Walla Walla had been out of service for painting and other routine maintenance for about three months at the time of the accident, Coursey said.

It will likely be out of service for at least the next few months while crews work to repair the vessel, Coursey said. The drive motor that was damaged is one of four motors that turn the propellers.

Immediately following the incident, the ferry system started an internal investigation per standard protocol, according to Coursey. Preliminary findings indicate that there was no explosion.

“This is a serious incident and we’re going to do a very thorough and detailed investigation into what happened,” state ferries chief David Moseley said in a written statement. “We hope to return the vessel to service as soon as possible.”

A third-party contractor, the Cadick Corporation, is conducting the investigation. The company will be assisted by the state ferries’ senior port engineers, safety systems managers, and electrical engineers. The state also has reached out to the Department of Labor and Industries and the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance to ensure that all employee safety requirements were met, Coursey said. Detailed results of the investigation are expected within two to three weeks.

In an effort to repair the Walla Walla, the state is working with the engine manufacturer to see if it’s possible to use a spare drive motor the state already owns and has in a warehouse. If the spare motor will work, ferry officials hope to move it to the manufacturer’s shop by the end of next week.

Vessels will be switched between routes to maintain service while the Walla Walla is unavailable.

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

More in Local News

Majority of Marysville City Council seats are contested

The most closely watched race is between Mark James and Donna Wright.

500 tires go up in flames at a store south of Everett

There were no injuries. And it was nowhere near as bad as that months-long tire fire in 1984.

Inclusion super important to Monroe High senior

Sarah Reeves worked to make homecoming more representative of the student population.

A pot deal between teens leaves them injured, facing charges

Police found out about the incident when both ended up at the same hospital that night.

Funds up for council vote would aid conservation district

District stands to receive an extra $1 million each year, if the County Council gives its approval.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Lake Stevens man injured by 50-foot fall near Leavenworth

The rescuers had to tie in to keep from falling due to the steep rugged terrain.

Mill Creek hires Gina Hortillosa as public works director

Hortillosa will be responsible for creating strategic infrastructure plans to promote economic growth.

Most Read