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Celebration for new ferry planned

Washington's newest ferry, the M/V Salish, may start service on the Coupeville (Keystone)-Port Townsend route on the Fourth of July weekend, state officials announced Thursday.

Ferry officials said the start date for the addition of a second ferry to the route wasn't yet certain, however. The Salish must still complete sea trials before it starts service between Keystone and Port Townsend, and ferry officials said the first day of service for the new ferry will be confirmed after sea trials are finished.

Even so, ferry officials were certain the Salish will join her sister ship, the M/V Chetzemoka, on the route in July.

“This month is the 60th anniversary of Washington State Ferries. Bringing a new vessel into service is a wonderful way to celebrate,” WSF Assistant Secretary David Moseley said Thursday. “We are making real progress toward rebuilding our aging fleet and investing in our future.”

A community celebration for the Salish is planned for Thursday, June 30 at the Port Townsend ferry terminal. WSF said the celebration will begin at 11 a.m. on the ferry’s vehicle deck with remarks from dignitaries and a tribal ceremony, followed by an open house aboard the vessel from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Vigor Shipyards, formerly Todd Pacific Shipyard, was awarded a $114.1 million contract to build the Salish and another 64-car ferry in late 2009, and Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland helped construct both vessels.

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