Ferry Tacoma likely out of service through December -- at least, preliminary report says

SEATTLE -- A preliminary report estimates the Ferry Tacoma will be out of service through at least December.

According to WSDOT, the report says the vessel blew a fuse in the propulsion control system without any warning to engineers. That apparently triggered a chain of events that let to a power failure.

The “Tacoma” lost power in the middle of the Puget Sound at the end of July. 405 passengers were stranded until a tugboat arrived to tow the ferry back to shore.

That led to major delays on other ferry routes.

Interim director George Capacci has said the ferries system will conduct its highest level of investigation to determine the cause, any contributing factors and then come up with a recommendation.

Capacci has already apologized for the major disruption.

“It was an unprecedented situation,” he said. “The fact we had two boats in regularly scheduled maintenance, two boats had incidents that took them out of service, is just something that we never planned for and never really experienced before.”

The ferry system has had its share of problems in the past, with cancellations because of staffing shortages, and problems with the newest ferry, the Tokitae.

Capacci also pointed out that this year there has only been 99 missed sailings out of 163,000.

The lifespan of a ferry in Washington is about 60 years. Right now the state is in the process of adding two more new Olympic Class ferries to the fleet.

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