Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ferry service between Tacoma and Vashon Island suspended until Dec. 31

Update Dec. 29, 3:00 p.m. : The repairs are taking longer than expected and we hope to have it reopened by the 31st. 

Just a few minutes before the ferry was set to leave Point Defiance dock Christmas Eve the captain of the M/V Chetzemoka suffered a major medical emergency and collapsed onto the control panel.

The accident caused the ferry to pull away from the terminal while it was still attached to the articulated ramp at the end of the dock. As a result, the ramp, also known as the dock apron, was damaged and service was immediately suspended on the route connecting Point Defiance (near Tacoma, WA) with Tahlequah on Vashon Island.

Point Defiance dock prior to the damage that occurred on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016.

The vessel crew quickly regained control of the ferry and rendered critical first aid to the captain until an ambulance arrived. The captain is OK and expected to recover.

Our crews worked until late Christmas Eve to assess the damage and ensure the safety of the dock.

They found significant damage to the dock apron (hanging vertically in the water).

We were hoping repairs would be complete by now, but workers were unable to get some of the required parts and equipment delivered over the holiday.

We estimate the dock will remain out of service until December 30 December 31, while crews complete repairs.

A floating crane arrived on scene today allowing crews to remove the apron and complete repairs to damaged dock components. This work requires close coordination between WSF’s terminal engineering staff, Eagle Harbor welding specialists, and outside contractors to provide the crane lift and inspect our weld work for safety.

We continue to provide updates to customers to ensure they are aware of this continuing service outage, and are working as quickly as possible to restore the dock to safe operating condition.

Thank you for your patience during this service disruption.


BStach said...

This was preventable %100 by regulation same standards as CDL holders. Do you care about the safety of passengers

WSDOT said...


Safety of passengers and crew is our top priority. By CDL regulation standards are you referring to the number of hours worked in one day? All of our deck officers, engine, car deck and cabin crew are only allowed to work a maximum of 12 hours each day. Union regulations also require all fleet workers to take 12 hours off between shifts. We know that sudden medical issues can happen at any time, regardless of an individual’s health history. Our crew did the right thing by coming to the captain’s aid immediately.

John said...

Nothing is ever preventable 100% especially something like this. Sudden medical emergencies happen sadly and this happened. They all have physical exams and work shifts in compliance with the law.

All they can do is make sure they don't work too much and they get regular physical exams. Not much else can be done truthfully.

pamrojo said...

It amazes me how some people just have to say things thinking they just have to show others how much they know. Before you post something here making conclusions when you don't have all the facts - just remember - "It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." The captain suffered a severe and sudden medical emergency. Things like heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms and other life threatening physical emergencies can happen without warning. My uncle had a complete physical on Wednesday. On Thursday he was working on his roof and suffered a heart attack and died before they could get him off the roof. He passed his physical with flying colors the day before. He passed his CDL physical allowing him to drive his 18 wheeler legally. He could have just as easily been driving his truck when his heart attack happened instead of being on his roof. I am sure the minute the captain had his emergency his crew came to his aid and took control of the ferry. Those huge vessels can't be stopped on a dime you know. I commend the crew and those who are working on repairing the damage to the landing area. And my prayers for the captain and the medical team taking care of him at this time.

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