Topic: Washington State Ferries
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November 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM
The Associated Press
PORT ANGELES — The lawyer for a man whose sailboat was hit and sunk in the San Juan Islands by a state ferry says he hopes to settle a damage claim without a lawsuit.
Seattle lawyer Terry McGee told the Peninsula Daily News he doesn’t have a dollar figure for the claim because 68-year-old Jack Gray of Chimacum is still recovering from injuries and the value of the boat has yet to be determined.
McGee says the Washington State Ferries division has done a good job investigating the accident.
A report on the investigation released last week said human error by the crew of the ferry Hyak was responsible for the Sept. 13 collision near Orcas Island.
November 13, 2013 at 3:35 PM
The crew of the ferry Hyak could have avoided a Sept. 13 crash with a small boat between Lopez and Orcas islands, according to a post-crash inquiry by Washington State Ferries.
The collision is blamed on a lack of “situational awareness” in a news release that accompanied the report Wednesday.
While approaching Harney Channel, heading northwest, Capt. Patricia Whaley chose a path between the Tasya and another sailing vessel, believing there was ample room to pass, the report said.
Though fog covered much of the Puget Sound region that week, visibility was at least one mile, shortly after 1 p.m. The second mate was at the helm as the Hyak left Lopez Island, the report said. The report says the captain was relying on radar.
As the ferry closed in on the Tasya, at 18 knots, the second mate informed the captain, who ordered her to steer left, and sound the whistle if needed. But the mate, who was relatively new to the route, set the rudder the wrong direction, and didn’t sound the whistle, the report says.
“I knocked the second mate out of the way and went full astern,” Capt. Whaley recalled in a statement to an inquiry board. About four seconds later, the 2700-ton Hyak overtook the 25-foot Tasya, puncturing its left rear.
Jack Gray, 68, of Chimacum, owner the Tasya, and his dog, Pablo, were rescued by another boat. The Tasya, which was equipped with both motors and sails, sank while being towed to shore. A week later, Gray told the Port Townsend Leader the impact “sounded like a volcano going off, and everything got really dark, just black.”
Ferries chief David Moseley said this was the only ferry-versus-boat collision during his six years in charge of the agency. He called the report “thorough, complete, and exhaustive.”
The captain and second mate are on paid administrative leave, until WSF’s operations and human-resources managers review the investigation and decide on potential discipline, Moseley said.
The WSF inquiry recommends a navigational refresher course for crew officers, and that the ferry system consider installing voyage data recorders. Only two ferries have VDRs now, because they travel internationally to Sidney, B.C. Still, the inquiry included speed, audio, and position data.
Moseley estimates the VDRs will cost $250,000 or more per vessel, and that the extra training would take several months.
October 24, 2013 at 12:58 PM
A Washington State Ferries captain used a loudspeaker this morning to tell his passengers on the Clinton-Mukilteo run to “brace for impact” when an object popped up on the radar of his ferry, the Cathlamet.
It was foggy, of course, when the ferry left the Clinton dock at the south end of Whidbey Island about 9:30 a.m. Shortly after the ferry got under way, the captain saw the blip on the radar screen while crew on the car deck and in the pilot house had additional eyes on the water, said Capt. Pete Williams, director of the system’s operations center.
The smaller vessel appeared to be a fishing boat on the move, Williams said. Luckily, the ferry captain was able to stop the ferry in time before there was a collision.
Another incident attributed to the fog happened Wednesday when the ferry Wenatchee had to stop mid-course on its 2:05 p.m. run Seattle to Bainbridge, officials said. In that case, the captain went off course. He reversed direction to find the proper travel lane and resumed the run, Williams said.
Ferries have been traveling at low speed all week. Captains are expected to be able to stop within half the visible distance, he said.
On the Clinton-Mukilteo route, a ferry would go 13 nautical miles per hour in good conditions, but the Cathlamet was moving much slower, allowing it to stop in time. “Contact was averted because of the efforts of the captain,” Williams said.
Capt. George Capacci, WSF’s deputy chief for operations, said he rode another ferry this week where the captain was “picking his way through” gillnetters between Seattle and Bainbridge Island.
There are about 450 ferry trips daily in the state, and so far these are the only two fog-related incidents significant enough to be noticed by passengers, he said.
Williams said this stretch of foggy days has occurred about 10 times in his 31-year career with the ferry system.
September 13, 2013 at 3:07 PM
The U.S. Coast Guard has dispatched a 50-foot rescue vessel from Bellingham to the site of the collision between the 382-foot ferry M/V Hyak and a 27-foot sailboat near Orcas Island in the San Juans.
There were no reports of injuries. Marta Coursey, the communications direction for Washington State Ferries (WSF), said all passengers from both vessels were safe and that the Hyak was on its way back to Anacortes for inspection.
The incident occurred around 1 p.m., and Coursey said there were reports of heavy fog in the area. She said it was unclear at this point what exactly happened.
Coursey said the ferry’s captain and crew would be subject to drug testing.
The accident forced the cancellation of the 2:20 p.m. sailing from Orcas to Anacortes.
The Hyak can carry up to 2,000 passengers and 144 vehicles, according to the WSF Web site.
March 21, 2013 at 4:18 PM
The Associated Press
The spring schedule takes effect Sunday for Washington state ferries.
The international route between Anacortes and Sidney, B.C., resumes. Other changes include increased weekend service for the San Juan Islands and a third boat on weekends on the West Seattle-Vashon Island route.
Beginning May 12, two-boat service will resume on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route.
December 25, 2012 at 9:42 AM
Good morning. And to those of you celebrating today, Merry Christmas.
Weather: Well, not frightful, but certainly wet and brooding. Rain and in the 40s today in the Seattle area. Touches of snow this morning to the southwest and east, but that will become rain soon enough.
Highway 2 closure: The stretch from Stevens Pass east to Leavenworth remains closed until further notice. Snow-laden trees have been toppling onto the roadway, and others are leaning perilously. Downed trees have killed two people and injured nine since Friday, in a pair of crashes about 15 miles east of the pass. If the hazardous tree conditions persist, WSDOT says they’ll try using a helicopter to blow snow from the trees on Wednesday.
Done opening your presents? As you take a moment to consider how grateful you are and the challenges others face this season, you might wish take a look at the good accomplished through readers’ donations to The Seattle Times Fund for the Needy. To learn about the Fund for the Needy and one of the agencies helped by the annual fundraiser, see today’s story about the Atlantic Street Center, a nearly 103-year-old nonprofit that helps children succeed in school while supporting their parents and offering mental-health counseling. To learn how to donate online, click here. To print out a donation form, click here.
Electric car owners need to pay up: If you own an electric car, you may think this item means no good deed goes unpunished. Owners of electric cars in Washington state will soon be assessed a $100 annual fee to supplement road funding supported by state gas taxes.
Seahawks: Ok, ok, they don’t play until Sunday. But you need some kind of Seahawks fix today, right? Reporter Danny O’Neil has the latest on the Hawks and cornerback Richard Sherman awaiting results of the drug-test appeal.
December 24, 2012 at 11:11 PM
On Christmas Day, the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth ferry route will run on a two-boat schedule because of what the state ferry system called a “lack of qualified staff.”
In a statement on its website, officials apologize for the inconvenience. View the two-boat schedule here.
November 29, 2012 at 3:56 PM
UPDATE: 9 p.m. | The baby’s parents released a statement late Thursday night about their baby’s on-board birth:
“We would like to thank the incredible crew of the Washington state ferry, Tacoma, and the kind people aboard who helped deliver our healthy baby, named Lucy, who came at lightning speed weighing 7 pounds, 3.6 ounces, and measuring in at 19 inches long. Mother and baby are both doing well and are very happy and healthy.”
Original post: Crews and passengers on a Bainbridge-to-Seattle ferry rushed to help a woman deliver a baby girl, Lucy, on board this afternoon.
In addition to ferry staff trained to respond to any on-board emergency, Seattle Fire spokesman Kyle Moore says a midwife, an OB/GYN nurse and two EMTs just happened to be on board to help with the woman’s quick labor.
WSDOT spokeswoman Marta Coursey says that as far as her staff knows, babies have been born on ferry docks but not aboard any Puget Sound ferry.
The woman was in labor when she boarded the ferry at the Bainbridge Island terminal, but it didn’t become apparent she might give birth so soon until after it departed, Coursey said. Crews on the ferry rushed the woman to a second floor office on the ferry Tacoma when her contractions started coming closer together.
After a loudspeaker announcement asking if anyone with birthing experience was aboard, the midwife, nurse and EMTs arrived to help deliver the little girl. By the time the ferry docked, Moore said Seattle Fire’s emergency personnel found the birth underway. Lucy was born healthy without any complications, then taken to Swedish Medical Center with her mother just after 2 p.m.
“What are the chances a midwife and OB/GYN nurse would be on board?” asked Coursey, who said she was also proud of the ferry crew’s response. “Our crews are really prepared for everything, and they have to be.”
Right now, Swedish Medical Center spokesman Ed Boyle said Lucy’s mother and father are enjoying a little privacy.
November 23, 2012 at 9:31 PM
The Associated Press
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – It wasn’t a Black Friday sale but a classic old Washington state ferry has sold at auction for just 40 percent of market value.
The 48-car Rhododendron was sold this week via a state-sanctioned auction website for $300,000 to an entity named “Kingstontown.” KOMO-TV reports the market value had been placed at $750,000.
The sale comes at a time when several state lawmakers are asking for more ferry capacity because several other ferries are temporarily sidelined.
The Rhododendron was purchased by the state in 1952 and retired from service in January after 60 years on the job. The Coast Guard banned her from any but the shortest of trips.
KOMO says the interior is in generally good condition after some restoration. However, state Rep. Judy Clibborn, who chairs the state House Transportation Committee, says the ferry would have been too expensive to restore to service.
November 21, 2012 at 4:38 PM
Early-morning commuters leaving Whidbey Island were delayed at least 20 minutes Wednesday morning because a ferry captain overslept.
The captain was supposed to pilot the Kittitas, but overnighted aboard the Cathlamet, which left the Clinton dock on Whidbey Island at 4:40 a.m.When the Cathlamet’s crew noticed the Kittitas captain on their boat, the Cathlamet turned back and dropped him off back at Clinton — making the Cathlamet’s passengers late to reach Mukilteo.
These included Boeing workers who were frustrated at being late, said Washington State Ferries spokeswoman Marta Coursey. The Cathlamet’s captain told passengers he was changing course due to a “personnel issue.”
An investigation is under way, she said.
The Cathlamet’s captain told passengers he was changing course due to a “personnel issue.” The incident appears unrelated to recent disputes over staffing, Coursey said. (The short-staffing controversy is described here by KING-5 news).
Earlier coverage by the Whidbey News-Times quotes two passengers disgusted by the delay, one of whom said, “You can’t make this stuff up.”
Coursey said there were no other incidents Wednesday in the ferry system, but there will be late boats all weekend, because of holiday crowds and traffic.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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