Everett Ship Repair completes work on damaged ferry Cathlamet

(EVERETT, Wash.) — Two shipyards with professional working relationships with Washington State Ferries (WSF) — Everett Ship Repair (ESR) and Ice Floe, dba Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB) — offered immediate assistance to the operator when the ferry Cathlamet allided with the Fauntleroy dock on July 28, 2022. On March 2 of this year, Cathlamet was towed back to Eagle Harbor to reunite with the WSF fleet after completion of major repairs caused by the incident.

Everett Ship Repair of Everett, Wash., has experience with WSF as a local dry-docking contractor since 2020. ESR is capable of docking all vessels within WSF’s fleet using ESR’s Faithful Servant dry dock, which accommodates vessels up to 436 by 110 feet with a lifting capacity of more than 8,000 short tons.

The ferry Cathlamet in the Faithful Servant dry dock at Everett Ship Repair in late August 2022. Everett Ship Repair photo

ESR served as the prime contractor for the Cathlamet emergency repairs. ESR subcontracted Nichols Brothers Boat Builders for the pickle fork steel construction, which was fabricated on Whidbey Island at NBBB’s facility. NBBB also has significant experience with WSF, building six superstructures for vessels of the Kwa-di-Tabil class and the Olympic class. The sister company project team was ideal for the response to the emergency repair of Cathlamet.

“ESR and NBBB value WSF as a customer, and immediately wanted to help when news broke of the M/V Cathlamet allision,” said Gavin Higgins, CEO of both shipyards. “Our crews are very familiar with WSF vessels. Not only do we repair and build the vessels, we are also routine passengers on the Mukilteo/Clinton route. The WSF system is very important to each and every one of us and our businesses.”

Cathlamet arrived at ESR on Aug. 29, 2022. Coordination between WSF and ESR began, and a project scope was identified. First the vessel was inspected and engineering and design followed for the affected areas, with newly fabricated modules.

Upon design completion, erection of the pickle fork module took place at NBBB. Once the pickle fork module was complete, it was loaded onto a barge and transferred to ESR. ESR installed the pickle fork and applied paint and coatings to the vessel in accordance with WSF’s specifications.

ESR executed the project process plan as the prime contractor. The vessel was dry docked, and an inspection was completed as well as work under the waterline. The vessel was then positioned dockside and work began removing the damaged steel and preparing the vessel for the new steel structure.

“As an emergency repair job, the M/V Cathlamet project was a unique opportunity for NBBB and ESR to create and execute an agile repair plan that utilized the companies’ capabilities in both new construction and repair,” said Kristin Burkhart, project manager at ESR.

– Nichols Brothers Boat Builders

By Rich Miller