A fuel spill of less than 15 gallons halted the Edmonds-Kingston ferries for six hours Monday morning, because officials feared boat movement would churn the diesel.
Fuel was being transferred between tanks in the ferry Walla Walla, docked at Kingston, when the crew discovered the spill. The Coast Guard received a report of the spill at about 4:30 a.m., said Coast Guard Petty Officer Third Class Katelyn Shearer.
“It was a small fuel spill but we took appropriate precautions and put a boom around the Walla Walla to absorb the fuel,” ferries spokeswoman Marta Coursey said.
Because both boats were tied up near each other, “we did not want to put the Spokane into service, to make sure the engine did not disturb the (fuel) sheen in any way,” she added. Booming equipment is available at ferry terminals, though not necessarily on the boats, she said.
Any fuel spill cleanup requires monitoring by the state Ecology Department, she said. Global Diving & Salvage was contracted to clean the spill, Shearer said, while Coast Guard responders got there at around 9 a.m. Coursey said Coast Guard and Ecology Department personnel were delayed, in part, by the lack of a ferry to Kingston.
Fortunately, traffic there was light Monday morning. About 20 motorists in Edmonds who already bought tickets were given vouchers and detoured south, Coursey said, to drive aboard a Seattle-Bainbridge ferry.
The Spokane resumed one-boat service on the route starting with the 10:25 a.m. Kingston departure and the 11:10 am Edmonds departure. Full two-boat service resumed in early afternoon.