SEATTLE — The Cathlamet ferry has been moved to a maintenance facility on Bainbridge Island, after crashing into a dock structure at the Fauntleroy terminal on Thursday morning, causing damage to the boat and at least two cars.
One person was believed to be in one of the vehicles at the time of the crash, although no injuries were reported.
The terminal reopened in the afternoon after the U.S. Coast Guard investigated what WSF called a “hard landing.” The Cathlamet was moved out of the terminal and made several stops for crewing purposes before heading to the Eagle Harbor maintenance facility.
Repairs to the boat and dock are expected to take months. Ian Sterling with Washington State Ferries says that costs could end up as high as $7 million, at least according to preliminary estimates.
The dock structure at the terminal was examined and determined to be usable. With service restored, the vessels Issaquah and Kitsap were tagged to serve the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route with no initial set schedule, according to WSF.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Although no obvious reason has been identified yet, the vessel appeared to be moving at higher speeds than are permitted that close to the dock.
When the crash occurred, the Vashon Island School District, or VISD, alerted parents. The school district was aware of the situation and encouraged all VISD commuter families to look out for more information related to the start of the school year, including updates on ferries throughout the month of August.
Those with monthly or multi-ride vehicle/passenger passes for Vashon and Southworth were permitted to use them at Seattle’s Colman dock for the remainder of the day, said WSF.
King County Executive Dow Constantine also directed King County Metro to provide additional sailings of the water taxi to Vashon on Thursday.
According to The Seattle Times archives, this isn’t the first incident with the Cathlamet in the ferry’s history.
In April 1982, the Cathlamet drifted from the ferry ramp at Mukilteo, causing a car to slip off. There were no injuries.
In September 1986, the Cathlamet’s propulsion system malfunctioned, and the ferry slammed into the Clinton dock, causing $500,000 in damage.
On June 1, 2007, the Cathlamet slammed into the Mukilteo ferry dock around 6 a.m., damaging a “dolphin,” which collapsed and blocked the ship. According to The Seattle Times, the captain was fired on July 28 of that year for “grossly negligent actions.”
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