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

A wobbly calf grows into a 1,800-pound Lake Stevens behemoth

A shaggy and sometimes cranky bison is the last of his herd. He lives amid encroaching suburbia.

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Officials ID man shot and killed in apparent Everett robbery

Police believe the victim may have known the shooter, who drove away before the officers arrived.

Man, 60, in critical condition after Bothell crash

Police believe the driver may have been speeding when he hit a rock wall.

Missing Marysville woman found safe out of state

A Marysville senior who was reported missing in March has… Continue reading

FBI operation arrests 3 linked to exploitation of 32 women

The sting focused on Everett and other cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Skagit and Spokane counties.

Front Porch

EVENTS Seahawks event postponed A Toys for Tots Blue Friday fundraiser that… Continue reading

Friend or stranger, Sikhs extend hand to those in need

Sikhs have accepted people of all backgrounds as equals, regardless of race, social class or religion.

Theft lands former insurance salesman 50 days in jail

A former insurance salesman is expected to report to jail… Continue reading

Most Read