The state ferry Chinook is for sale on eBay
The state ferry Chinook is for sale on eBay, with an asking price of at least $4.5 million.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The state ferry Chinook, which has been mothballed at the Eagle Harbor maintenance yard for the past four years, is for sale on eBay.
State officials put the boat on the online auction block Thursday night, with an asking price of at least $4.5 million.
As of this afternoon, there were no bidders. It will remain for sale until Feb. 24.
The state had planned to sell the sister ships the Chinook and the Snohomish, two passenger-ferries that ran between Bremerton and Seattle until the state pulled out of the route. The state was hoping to get $9 million for both boats.
But just days before the auction was to begin in November, Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond beached the state's four steel-electric boats because of damaged hulls, and the Snohomish was put on the Port Townsend-Keystone route as a temporary measure. Now it's being used between Bremerton and Seattle, to replace the ferry Yakima that ran into a breakwater last week and was damaged.
The state decided to go ahead with selling the Chinook to give money to King County, which is beginning its own passenger ferry service between Seattle and Vashon Island. The State Legislature said the county, or another government entity, could get the proceeds from the sale of the two idled passenger ferries.
Port of Kingston also wants to operate a passenger route to Seattle and may try to bid for the Chinook money.
"One of the compelling reasons for selling it is King County feels it needs the money," said ferry spokeswoman Marta Coursey. She said unlike the Snohomish, which remains in service, the Chinook didn't have adequate landing gear and had limited usefulness for the ferry system.
The Chinook was built in 1998. The 143-foot boat could carry 350 passengers.
This is the second time the state has sold a ferry on eBay. In 2003, after just three days on the eBay auction block, the ferry Tyee was sold to a Florida boat broker for $560,000.
The state wanted a minimum bid of $500,000 but said anyone who bid $560,000 could have the boat and end the auction. There were 15,000 site visits on the online auction site.
The winning bidder was Fred Gatchell, who owns Captain Fred's Marine Service in Cape Canaveral, Fla. He resold it to a local group for $750,000, which renamed it the Aqua Express and operated it between Kingston and Seattle until October 2005.
Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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