Damage to Propulsion of WSF's 'Tacoma' Seems More Extensive

By George Backwell
Monday, August 11, 2014
Ferry 'Tacoma': Photo CCL

Interim Assistant Secretary WSDOT/Ferries Division, Capt. George A. Capacci, says that ongoing investigations suggest that damage to the ferry's propulsion system following a 29, July disabling breakdown may be more extensive than previously thought.

"This week, WSF engineers, alongside vendor technicians from Siemens Global, Inc., continued to take part in an ongoing and thorough investigation into what went wrong in the Tacoma’s loss of propulsion power on July 29. Siemens believes the damage is more extensive than the initial review revealed. For this reason, Siemens will require additional time to complete their investigation and prepare a recommended repair plan. Washington State Ferries also recently launched an internal Board of Inquiry to investigate the root causes of the power failure, determine contributing factors, and make recommendations to prevent this type of event in the future."

"This has been a challenging week for Washington State Ferries and the customers we serve. On Tuesday, July 29 the Tacoma lost power while entering Eagle Harbor near Bainbridge Island. Captain Ty Anderson and crew dropped anchor and immediately stabilized the vessel. The Sealth was quickly diverted from the Seattle/Bremerton route to assist until tug boats arrived.

The 405 passengers and 138 vehicles onboard were safely unloaded at the Bainbridge Island terminal. I commend Captain Anderson and the entire crew of the Tacoma for remaining calm and professional in this difficult situation. I also want to thank Captain Steve Erland and his crew on the Sealth for their prompt response to assist the Tacoma.

The Tacoma was moved to Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility. While we’re still in the early phases of investigation, we are looking at the switchboard that controls the ship’s propulsion. I expect to receive a repair plan next week."

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