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Originally published Saturday, February 9, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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More ferry woes: Yakima cracks hull in accident

The ferry Yakima on the Seattle-to-Bremerton route will be out of service for an undetermined amount of time after the boat ran into a breakwater...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The ferry Yakima on the Seattle-to-Bremerton route will be out of service for an undetermined amount of time after the boat ran into a breakwater near the Bremerton dock early Friday morning, putting three cracks in the hull.

The Yakima, with 18 vehicles and 62 passengers on board, was blown north of the terminal while trying to dock about 2 a.m., ferry spokeswoman Marta Coursey said. The boat hit the edge of a breakwater being built for a new Bremerton marina.

The accident is causing Washington State Ferries to shift boats to try to keep a second ferry on the Bremerton route. The route also is served by the ferry Kitsap.

The changes that are planned:

• On Friday, the passenger ferry Snohomish was put on the Seattle-Bremerton route. The Snohomish had been working the Port Townsend-Keystone route but has been replaced by the Steilacoom II, a car ferry borrowed from Pierce County. It will begin operating today.

• Today, the 124-car ferry Chelan will move from the Vashon-Southworth-Fauntleroy triangle route to the Seattle-Bremerton one, and Bremerton will be served by two car ferries. Coursey said the triangle route operates only two boats on the weekends, so the change shouldn't affect service.

• On Monday, the state hopes to put a passenger ferry, possibly the Snohomish, on the Seattle-Bremerton run. But it hopes the 144-car Hyak, now in dry dock, will be back in service later in the week.

As for the Yakima accident, Coursey said one crack was 8 inches long and the other two were 4 inches long. The accident caused water to seep into the hull.

The boat was being towed Friday to the Eagle Harbor maintenance yard on Bainbridge Island for repairs.

The Coast Guard said divers sealed the fractures before the boat was moved.

Coursey could not say how long the Yakima would be out of service, just that the state is not planning on operating it "for some time."

The Coast Guard and ferry system, which said no one was injured in the accident, are investigating.

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The Yakima accident was just the latest in a series of problems plaguing Washington State Ferries.

Six autos were damaged Tuesday when a ferry ran into rough weather on a San Juan run. According to Susan Harris, another spokeswoman for state ferries, the ferry Sealth was running between Lopez Island and Anacortes when high winds and waves crashed over the boat, damaging six cars. The windshield of one vehicle was shattered.

On Thursday morning, the Snohomish, a passenger ferry running between Port Townsend and Keystone, was partially flooded by a massive wave.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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