by: Graham Johnson Updated:
Relief came for ferry passengers on the Edmonds-Kingston route at midday Thursday, when the ferry Chelan was re-assigned to a run that had been down to a single ferry.
Washington State Ferries has been shuffling boats since the ferry Tacoma lost power and began drifting on Tuesday as it approached Bainbridge Island with more than 400 people aboard.
The Tacoma and the Wenatchee, two of the largest ferries in the fleet, have been out of service for repairs at a time two other ferries, the Yakima and the Kitsap, were out for scheduled maintenance.
"It's an unprecedented situation," said Capt. George Capacci, interim assistant secretary of transportation for Ferries.
The loss of the Tacoma from the system's busiest run led to another ferry being moved from Edmonds-Kingston.
On Thursday, the ferry system moved the Chelan to that run, canceling service on the run through the San Juan Islands between Anacortes and Sidney, British Columbia.
The head of the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce questioned that decision on a media conference call with the interim WSF chief, saying it was impacting Canadians trying to travel to the Anacortes Arts Festival.
The ferry Wenatchee is expected to be back in service Saturday, allowing the Chelan to return to the San Juans.
The ferry system said all routes should have their normal number of boats by Saturday.