Washington State Ferry grounds after suspected generator failure

Washington State Ferry (WSF) Walla Walla (IMO 7233151) grounded during the afternoon of Saturday April 15th. The vessel grounded on Brainbridge Island during its journey from Bremerton to Seattle.

A preliminary investigation suggested that a failed generator could have resulted in the vessel losing all power and making it impossible to steer the vessel away from land. There were 596 passengers and 15 crew members on board at the time. Ian Sterling, WSF Director of Communications, stated that divers would be examining Walla Walla’s propeller to see if any damage was sustained when the ferry unexpectedly hit a sandbar. The vessel was likely to be out of service for several days, he said.

Late on Sunday morning WSF said that all 175 cars trapped aboard the stricken vessel had been removed after the vessel was refloated and towed back to Bremerton. WSF said that the last of the passengers had disembarked by 22:00 on Saturday night.

The 440ft-long double-ended Walla Walla has a maximum passenger capacity of 2,000. It was rebuilt in 2003, having originally been constructed in 1973.

On the Sunday the 124-vehicle Issaquah replaced the Walla Walla on the Seattle/Bremerton route. Due to the Issaquah’s smaller vehicle capacity, WSF warned of potential extended wait times and encouraged passengers to seek alternate routes.

The Washington State Department of Ecology found no pollution or hull damage resulting from the grounding.

1973-built, USA-flagged, 3,246 gt Walla Walla is owned by Washington State Transport and operated by Washington State Ferries, of Seattle, Washington, USA.

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