The Port Townsend / Coupeville ferry is currently out of service while repairs are being made to the Kennewick.
A steering alarm has been sounding on the Kwa-di Tabil class ferry for some time, said Marta Coursey, spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Ferries Division, in an email.
She said electricians and engine room staff continue to work on the problem while the ferry is tied up in Port Townsend; However, workers haven’t identified a root cause or implemented a repair plan, Coursey said adding that the manufacturer has also been notified.
Ferry officials are also looking at a fueling and crewing schedule for the Salish in case it has to be put in service to replace the Kennewick. The Salish is currently located at the ferry system’s maintenance facility at Eagle Harbor. Coursey said it’s standard procedure whenever there is a service disruption.
“Our senior port captains, senior port engineers, dispatch operators, communications and senior management evaluate the situation and devise an operating plan based on the system and customer needs and a real time assessment of the repair issue,” Coursey said in an email.
Washington State Ferries has three ferries that are capable of navigating the difficult entry into Keystone Harbor on Central Whidbey Island — the Salish, Kennewick and Chetzemoka, which is currently serving the Point Defiance / Talequah ferry route.
She didn’t have an estimate about when service will return to the ferry route.
With the run across Admiralty Inlet out of service, motorists are left with the lengthy journey of taking the Clinton / Mukilteo ferry and the Edmonds / Kingston ferry to travel to and from the Olympic Peninsula.