Vibration problem in new state ferry solved

  • Thu Aug 19th, 2010 9:40pm
  • News

By Bill Sheets Herald staff

SEATTLE — The state has found and eliminated the problem that caused the vibrations in its newest ferry, the Chetzemoka, officials said Thursday.

The ferry could begin service between Port Townsend and Keystone as early as October, more than a month after its originally scheduled date of Aug. 29.

The 64-seat Chetzemoka was built to replace the Steel Electric ferries, which were pulled from service in 2007 after corrosion was found in their hulls. The boats were more than 80 years old.

The $76.5 million Chetzemoka vibrated at high speeds and when decelerating during sea trials. Its date to begin service was delayed while the problem was investigated.

Changes to the ferry’s software now allow the boat’s propeller speed to change more gradually, as opposed to the more sudden and quick thrust of power during which the vibrations occurred, said David Moseley, assistant secretary of transportation in charge of the ferry system.

The changes were tested in eight hours of sea trials on Wednesday, ferry officials said.

The ferry’s crew must complete six weeks of training before it can begin service, officials said. The Steilacoom II, a small ferry leased from Pierce County, has served the Port Townsend-Keystone run since January 2008.

For more information about the new ferry, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Ferries/64CarFerries.