UPDATE: Cathlamet Ferry captain resigns; Drug tests negative; Investigation continues
Update Aug. 1 4:50pm
According to a report in the Kitsap Sun, the captain of the Cathlamet ferry that struck a barrier at the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock on July 28 has resigned. The Sun reports that a letter went out to Washington State Ferry (WSF) personnel on Monday that also explained that drug tests done on the crew came back negative. The Captain was not identified in the report. The damage, the Sun said quoting WSF's Patty Rubstello was in the $5 to $7 million range but that all estimates were preliminary. The investigation is continuing. Read the story from the Sun here:
The Fauntleroy Ferry dock has reopened and WSF announced that service will resume on a "2 boat schedule" soon. The Cathlamet though damaged is now docked at Vashon before transfer to the boat yard. The Fauntleroy dock is cleared, and the Issaquah is resuming the Triangle service, and the Kitsap will fill in.
Washington State Ferries posted a news release Thursday in the wake of the collision of the Cathlamet ferry with the south side dolphin barrier at the Fauntleroy ferry dock.
Issaquah, the other vessel on the route, is currently providing service between Vashon Island and Southworth only. People who need to travel between Vashon Island and the mainland can also use our Point Defiance/Tahlequah route. King County Metro provides walk-on passenger ferry service between downtown Seattle and Vashon Island.
We are working with the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board in investigating the cause of this morning's hard landing. We do not know yet how this incident will affect service across our system, but we’ll keep you posted on any changes."
Original Post 9:30 AM
The Cathlamet Ferry struck a Fauntleroy Ferry barrier on Thursday morning, causing major damage to the port side. While only minor injuries were reported, several cars were damaged in the collision and one car, a Honda Fit, was pinned under the wreckage.
All passengers were safely evacuated.
According to a WSF (Washington State Ferries) worker on the scene the 328 foot ferry approached too fast, and lost control striking the south side "dolphin" (a group of pilings arrayed together to serve variously as a protective hard point along a dock) caving in the port (left) side of the vessel and bending down the port side upper viewing walk way. The captain pulled the ferry back and then docked, allowing the cars to get off the ferry.
Coast Guard, Washington State Patrol, Seattle Police, and even a bomb expert were called to the scene.
The Cathlamet is out of service for the foreseeable future and the Fauntleroy ferry dock is closed. This will mean that at a minimum the ferry run to Vashon and Southworth will be reduced to one ferry. No word as yet from WSF on the cost of the damages or cause of the accident. According to WSF "The Issaquah will be the only boat on the route for now and will continue service between Southworth and Vashon. The boat will not operate on its regular schedule and just load vehicles before departing to its next destination to move as much traffic as possible."
The Cathlamet, built in 1981, then rebuilt in 1993, suffered a previous dock collision in 2007, in Mukilteo, resulting in $139,000 in damage. The Captain in that case was fired by WSF.