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Study: Washington State Should Buy 12 New Vessels

Report Earmarks $34.3 Million For New Vessels In Phase I A recent report commissioned by the Washington State Transportation Commission focusing on passenger only ferry (POF) service in Puget Sound concluded that ultimately the area should purchase 12 new, 350-passenger, 30-knot catamaran type passenger vessels.

The report was created to develop a plan for expanded and improved POF service in Puget sound, which would include service between Seattle and four outlying areas: Bremerton, Southworth, Kingston and Vashon.

Implementation of the plan is recommended in two phases, so as to accurately keep up with passenger demand and to give time for necessary land-based terminal improvements. The core of the program includes the purchase of seven new vessels and the retention of the Tyee, a 319-passenger, 23-knot, Caterpillar- powered catamaran built by Nichols Brothers for $2.5 million. Phase II of the project, scheduled for a minimum of seven years later, includes the purchase of five additional vessels to satisfy increased demand.

The projected cost for Phase I is $60.5 million, with $34.3 million of that earmarked for vessels; Phase II is projected to cost $50.7 million.

VESSEL SPECIFICATIONS Currently, the area has three vessels in operation, the already-mentioned Tyee and two monohull vessels, the Skagit and the Kalama. The primary objective of the new POF program is to provide consistently reliable and frequent service. With this objective in mind, and using prior experience, a detailed design and equipment specification list is outlined in the study.

For example, prior experience indicates the need for a high-speed design which causes minimal wakewash damage. Complaints of wake-wash damage along the Rich Passage shoreline shortly after POF service was originally started between Bremerton and Seattle resulted in a speed reduction to 12 knots for vessels going through the area. The result: a much slower travel time, ultimately resulting in unacceptable performance. The report recommends a catamaran configuration. Any new vessel procurement will require that the vessel designer provide hull form and weight data so that analytical predictions of wake-wash can be modeled, as well as requiring measurements of the initial vessel's wakewash before additional vessels are accepted for delivery by Washington State Ferries.

Also, the new vessel specs require a propulsion system which can survive the rigors of the Puget Sound, which has a lot of floating debris such as logs. Puget Sound's high tidal current velocities require a vessel with excellent maneuverability and controllability, particularly at low speeds. As a solution, the new vessels are recommended to have waterjet propulsion, which reportedly can minimize the effects of the previously-mentioned conditions. The report also advocates a passenger loading system using an overthe- bow ramp concept and retractable doors to provide rapid embarking and disembarking.

One problem area is the language of current Washington State Law, which restricts the state to the purchase of vessels "of a proven and operational design... [that have been] placed in operation within the previous five years" (RCW 47.60.651).

The report concludes that the language, if strictly interpreted, could exclude from vessel procurement the latest technology of low wakewash, speed and reliability. It recommends the state amend the statute so, in essence, Washington State Ferries can benefit from the latest technological developments.

FINAL IMPLEMENTATION The report states that the implementation of Phase II accomplishes two goals: providing improved service frequency on all routes; and to satisfy estimated future demand for increased capacity on the Kingston and Southworth routes. To allow time for expansion of the Colman Dock facility in Seattle—necessary to accommodate a 13-boat program— Phase II of the plan would not be implemented for a projected minimum of seven years, providing five years for an environmental review and permitting, and another two years for actual construction. Once all facilities and boats are in place, however, the report envisions: three vessels on the Bremerton route; three vessels on the Southworth route; three vessels on the Kingston route; two vessels on the Vashon route; one maintenance rotation boat; and retention of the Tyee as an emergency back-up vessel. At press time, plans to present the report to the Washington State Legislation were being carried out. getary considerations, the Washington State Transportation Commission will discuss the project for inclusion on its budget request for the years 1995 to 1997.

Chubb Helps To Keep Shipping Safe In Strait Of Gibraltar To meet the fire protection needs of an automated lighthouse, Middlesex-based Chubb Fire Engineering has designed and supplied an automatic system primarily to "flood" the generator room of the lighthouse at Europa Point in Gibraltar with C02 in the event of a fire.

Until now, Chubb Fire extinguishers have been used as first-aid fire protection.

Chubb Fire's sister company, Edinburgh-based Guardall, is to supply intruder detection and alarm equipment. Passive infrared (PIR) sensors will be linked to two Guardall Rascal microprocessor alarm control units: one protecting the lighthouse and the other the keepers' lodges.

Installation will be supervised by Fire Security (Gibraltar) Ltd., a company established by former Chubb Fire manager Mike Reid.

Chubb Fire and Guardall are part of Chubb Security Pic.

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