Delivery of ferry Salish delayed

Officials with Washington State Ferries said today it will be another week before the state takes delivery of the new ferry Salish.

The new Kwa-di Tabil-class ferry was expected to be handed over to the state today, but officials said Todd Pacific Shipyards needs more time to complete work on the 64-car vessel.

Delivery of the Salish is now expected on May 12.

“While the contract calls for delivery on May 5, we were informed by Todd that they need an additional seven days,” said Assistant Secretary David Moseley. “The Salish performed very well during sea trials and we look forward to taking delivery of this beautiful new ferry next Thursday.”

Sea trials for the Salish began on April 13.

State officials said the Salish must still complete a dockside demonstration to the Coast Guard on specific tests and equipment operations, such as alarms and monitoring systems. Cleaning and touch-up painting also remains to be completed.

Todd will demonstrate these systems to the Coast Guard next week before a “Certificate of Inspection” is issued, officials said. WSF also stressed that the remaining work on the Salish does not involve any unexpected or unusual issues, such as what occurred on the M/V Chetzemoka when vibrations were discovered during sea trials.

Under the state's contract with Todd, the shipyard may face assessments of $5,000 a day in damages for late delivery. A decision on assessments will be made later.

“This will be a great vessel for Washington State Ferries and the communities it serves,” said Steve Welch, president of Todd Pacific Shipyards. “Taking a few extra days to complete these tasks will ensure the vessel meets both the state and U.S. Coast Guard’s requirements.”

Partially built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland, the Salish is expected to start service on the Coupeville (Keystone)-Port Townsend route later this summer.

WSF said the shipyard expects an early delivery of the third 64-car ferry, Kennewick, before the end of 2011.

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