Passenger ferry runs delayed on closed route

SEATTLE — Passenger ferry service between Port Townsend and Keystone won’t begin until Monday at the earliest, Washington State Ferries said Thursday.

Ferry officials had hoped to offer passenger-only service by early this morning for people who need to travel between the Olympic Peninsula and Whidbey Island.

The emergency closure of the Keystone-to-Port Townsend ferry run Tuesday eliminated the link that typically shuttles 1,000 cars and 350 walk-ons a day.

The state shut down the run because of concerns about the safety of its leaking 80-year-old Steel Electric-class car ferries.

Marta Coursey, communications director for the ferry system, said the delay was caused because ferry workers discovered they could not safely moor the passenger ferry, The Snohomish, at docks in Keystone and Port Townsend.

“To be safe, they’ve decided they’ll wait until Monday,” Coursey said. “They’ve decided not to push it too much.”

Coursey said work to accomodate the passenger ferries will resume Monday and she does not expect any announcements until then.

The state had earlier planned to sell The Snohomish along with another mothballed passenger-only ferry, on eBay.

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