A ferry was in Everett for repair in November 2020. (Sue Misao / Herald file)

A ferry was in Everett for repair in November 2020. (Sue Misao / Herald file)

Ferry fire will cause Puget Sound summer travel delays

A reduced number of boats, crew shortages and quarantines related to COVID-19 will limit capacity.

SEATTLE — Puget Sound ferry travelers can expect summer delays because last month’s fire aboard the ferry Wenatchee has forced the state to use smaller vessels than normal on several routes.

The Seattle Times reports the Washington State Ferries is operating 18 vessels instead of the usual summer fleet of 19 boats.

Besides a reduced number of ferries, state officials say crew shortages and quarantines related to COVID-19 further limit capacity, just as peak travel season begins. Lower-capacity schedules take effect Thursday night.

The jumbo ferry Wenatchee remains docked at Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island following the April 22 fire.

That blaze occurred in the diesel engines during a test cruise, following an engine rebuild. It’s being investigated by Washington State Ferries, the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board.

The Wenatchee, one of the state’s three largest ferries, might be idle four to six months though managers don’t have a time or cost estimate yet.

With that boat docked, the state loses capacity for 202 cars and 1,791 passengers. (The current Coast Guard license, which presumes 15 crew members trained in evacuations, doesn’t allow the boat’s full capacity of 2,500 persons.)

For now, the Seattle-Bainbridge route will operate with the 202-car Tacoma, paired with the smaller 188-car Walla Walla or 144-vehicle Kaleetan. The Seattle-Bremerton route will include the slower 64-vehicle Salish, and lose one early-afternoon round trip, until at least June 27.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

Cars make their way across US 2 between Lake Stevens and Everett as wildfire smoke makes downtown Everett barely visible on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Wildfire smoke: A burning health issue is getting worse

As the hazardous haze increases during fire seasons, it’s time to get serious and prepare, experts say.

FILE - In this June 19, 2020, file photo, people taking part in a Juneteenth march travel down 23rd Ave. in Seattle. President Joe Biden this week signed legislation establishing a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery – a move lawmakers made for Washington state earlier this year. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee last month signed a measure making Juneteenth a legal state paid holiday, starting in 2022. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Juneteenth becomes official state paid holiday in 2022

It also became a federal holiday when President Biden signed it into law this week.

WSU medical school receives full accreditation

The distinction determines whether a medical school’s program meets established standards.

With credit scores out, will insurers cut or hike your rate?

Lack of affordable housing squeezed buyers and drove up home prices across Snohomish County.

Mistrial halts case on minimum wage for immigrant detainees

Meanwhile, Washington is trying to close the Tacoma detention center entirely.

Stunt rider dies attempting world record jump in Moses Lake

Alex Harvill crashed while trying to jump the length of a football field during an air show.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee glances at an aide holding up an image of a visual slide being shown to viewers of a news conference, Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Olympia, Wash. Inslee announced that Washington will be the latest state to offer prizes to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Incentives will include a series of giveaways during the month of June including lottery prizes totaling $2 million, college tuition assistance, airline tickets, and game systems. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Judge dismisses Washington state governor recall petition

A group had alleged that Inslee’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic interfered with their rights.

FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2020, file photo, police use chemical irritants and crowd control munitions to disperse protesters during a demonstration in Portland, Ore. City officials insist Portland is resilient as they launch a revitalization plan — in the form of citywide cleanups of protest damage, aggressive encampment removals, increased homeless services and police reform — to repair its reputation. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Officers resign en masse from Portland protest response unit

The move to disband came a day after a team member was indicted in an assault case from last summer.

FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2020, file photo, Staff Sgt. Travis Snyder, left, receives the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine given at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, south of Seattle. Nurse Jose Picart, right, administered the shot. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday, June 17, 2021, announced a new COVID-19 vaccine incentive lottery for the state's military, family members and veterans because the federal government wasn't sharing individual vaccine status of those groups with the state and there were concerns they would be left out of a previously announced lottery. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
New vaccine lottery announced for military in Washington

Gov. Inslee said there were concerns they would be left out of a previously announced lottery.

Frank, a homeless man sits in his tent with a river view in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, June 5, 2021. Until a year ago, the city was best known nationally for its ambrosial food scene, craft breweries and “Portlandia” hipsters. Now, months-long protests following the killing of George Floyd, a surge in deadly gun violence, and an increasingly visible homeless population have many questioning whether Oregon’s largest city can recover. (AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
Portland, scarred by unrest and violence, tries to come back

To outsiders, the Rose City’s reputation has gone from quirky “Portlandia” to violent dystopia.

The Everett Post Office is shown with a "now hiring" sign in 2019. (Sue MIsao / Herald file)
Washington unemployment rate dipped to 5.3% in May

Private sector employment increased by 7,000 jobs and government employment increased by 1,300 jobs.

A resident reported finding a dead Asian giant hornet near Marysville on June 4. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Dead ‘murder hornet’ found in Marysville, a first for county

It could be from a previous season, scientists say, because males don’t typically emerge this early.