Washington State’s Department of Transportation – and the crew of the ferry Cathlamet – certainly showed their dislike for some Seahawk fans from Kitsap County Friday night by forgetting how many people could safely board the boat and “mistakenly allowed an extra 484 passengers to board a Seattle-bound ferry Friday afternoon, forcing the vessel to turn back to Bremerton.”
Evidently counting – or remembering what boat they are on – is not a strong suit for some ferry employees. According to the Times, “Both ferries that sail between Bremerton and Seattle have a capacity of 1,200 passengers, so it’s unclear why anyone thought the capacity was 1,600.”
That mistake caused a major headache for ferry travelers with Friday evening plans, though the ferry spokesperson assured the public that though those people had arrived in time to board a 4:20 departure, “By 8 p.m. Friday, most of the passengers had arrived at their destinations.”
What’s a few hours, after all, to the ferry employees, even if the Seahawks game the passengers might have been going to started at 7?
Of course the Secretary of Transportation Department promised there would be action: “a thorough review of this incident will take place and everyone in the chain of command at Washington State Ferries responsible for this oversight will be held accountable accordingly,” said Lynn Peterson.
Not sure anyone wants to hold their breath waiting for such “accountability” from Jay Inslee’s transportation administration, since they have a lot of ferry problems to sort through given that “Friday’s event came less than two weeks after the ferry Elwha had mechanical problems with one of the drive motors on an Aug. 3 trip from Friday Harbor to Anacortes” and “five days before that incident, the ferry Tacoma stalled near Bainbridge Island and had to be pushed to the Winslow terminal.”
Perhaps of even more concern was the report, from the Kitsap Sun, “that the operations director of Washington State Ferries has been put on administrative leave. Steve Rodgers was administratively reassigned to his home July 3”. The state is paying him “to stay at home and be available by phone from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays during an investigation, according to the letter obtained by the Sun through a public-records request. The documents provided no reason for the action.”
A hint as to why Rodgers is now working from home was the additional news item that “Rodgers’ son, Josh Rodgers, was fired from his ticket-selling job with the ferry system in December”.
Perhaps another ferry scandal in the making?