Ferry carrying 600 passengers grounds near Seattle

(SEATTLE) — A Washington state ferry ran aground south of Bainbridge Island on Saturday, prompting the evacuation of nearly 600 passengers aboard the vessel. All were safely disembarked and no pollution was reported.

At about 4:30 p.m., Walla Walla grounded in Rich Passage en route from Bremerton to Seattle. According to operator Washington State Ferries (WSF), the vessel appeared to have sustained a generator failure while underway. The Kitsap Transit ferries Waterman and Commander diverted to the scene and transferred passengers, who had donned life jackets, off the grounded vessel.

U.S. Coast Guard photo

Walla Walla was refloated at high tide Saturday night with tugboat assistance. The ferry Issaquah took over Walla Walla’s route while it ferry was surveyed for damage.

WSF said that 596 passengers and 15 crewmembers were aboard Walla Walla when it ran aground. The Jumbo-class ferry was built in 1973 and refurbished in 2005. It has a diesel-electric propulsion system powered by four engines.


By Rich Miller