A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people ran aground near Bainbridge Island, west of Seattle, but thankfully there were no injuries or contamination reported. The ferry, named Walla Walla, was carrying 596 passengers and 15 crew members as it was traveling from the city of Bremerton to Seattle, according to the Washington State Ferries. The vessel suffered a generator failure, but investigations into the cause of the incident are still ongoing.
Passengers were initially kept onboard, but one passenger suffered a medical emergency unrelated to the grounding and required evacuation. Kitsap Transit stepped in to help transport people from the Walla Walla to Bremerton via a passenger-only ferry, the agency announced around low tide at 8 p.m.
A photo taken by a Coast Guard officer showed the ferry near the shore as people looked at it from the beach and took pictures. A tugboat was seen positioned at one end of the ferry, accompanied by an apparent Coast Guard boat nearby. According to the state Department of Ecology, no pollution or hull damage has been detected at this time. Responders from Ecology are on their way to the scene.
The Seattle-Bremerton route is currently out of service until further notice, according to the Department of Transportation’s website. The Walla Walla is a four-engine, jumbo class ferry with a maximum capacity of 2,000 passengers and 188 vehicles. It measures 440 feet in length with a draft of 18 feet. The ferry was constructed in Seattle in 1973 and underwent reconstruction in 2003, as per the website.
The Washington State Ferries apologised to passengers via Twitter and said that vessel engineers believe the tide will be at the right height to safely tow the boat at midnight. They reiterated that the safety of passengers is their top priority.
According to the Washington State Ferries, the agency responsible for the ferry service, the Walla Walla ran aground due to a generator failure. While initial investigations suggest that this was the cause of the incident, investigators are still looking into what happened to determine the exact cause of the incident.
There were 596 passengers and 15 crew members aboard the ferry when it ran aground. Passengers were initially kept onboard, but one passenger suffered a medical emergency unrelated to the grounding and necessitated an evacuation.
Kitsap Transit, the public transportation agency for Kitsap County, announced shortly after 8 p.m. that it was taking people from the Walla Walla and transporting them to Bremerton using a passenger-only ferry. The agency said it was working on a plan for the vehicles onboard so passengers could retrieve them the following day.
The Seattle-Bremerton route was out of service until further notice, the Department of Transportation said on its website. The Walla Walla is a four-engine, jumbo class ferry with a maximum capacity of 2,000 passengers and 188 vehicles. It is 440 feet in length with a draft of 18 feet.
The Walla Walla was constructed in Seattle in 1973 and rebuilt in 2003, according to the ferry service’s website.
A photo taken by a Coast Guard officer showed the ferry near the shore as people looked at it from the beach and snapped pictures. A tug was positioned at one end of the ferry with an apparent Coast Guard boat nearby.
The state Department of Ecology reported that “no pollution or hull damage [was] detected at this time.” The agency added that “Ecology responders [were] on the way to the scene” to ensure that there were no further environmental concerns.
The incident comes just weeks after a similar incident involving the Washington State Ferries. On March 30, a ferry carrying nearly 300 passengers ran aground in Puget Sound, causing significant damage to the vessel. The ferry, which was traveling from Bremerton to Seattle, had to be towed back to shore for repairs.
The Washington State Ferries are one of the largest ferry systems in the world, carrying millions of passengers and vehicles every year. The system operates 10 routes throughout Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, connecting communities and providing critical transportation links for commuters, tourists, and businesses alike.