Oops again: Ferry forced to turn back due to ‘overloading’ actually wasn’t overloaded, state says
OLYMPIA — A state investigative report released Monday said that a Bremerton-Seattle ferry that had to turn back to dock on Aug. 15 because it was believed to be overloaded with passengers actually wasn’t too full after all.
On that date, more than 480 passengers — many of them Seahawks fans heading toward the game — were forced to get off the ferry Cathlamet before it resumed its departure for Seattle.
“The evidence collected indicates the Cathlamet was not overloaded and there were approximately 1,073 passengers on board when the ferry sailed from Bremerton at 4:23 p.m. for Seattle,” the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Todd Dowler wrote in the inquiry.
“The Passenger Attendant counting walk-on passengers believed 1,461 passengers walked onto the Cathlamet. This count combined with the count of 223 passengers boarding the ferry via vehicles brought the total passenger count to 1,684.
That number, however, was contradicted by video evidence and the other counting, the report said. And the number was in error, apparently, because of faulty counting clickers.
“I again apologize to WSF customers impacted by this incident last month,” Washington State Ferries said in a statement released late Monday. “While the miscount was the result of a faulty counting device, we are taking steps to make sure the passenger counts are accurate. The actions of the crew, when they thought the vessel was overloaded, demonstrated their commitment to safety, our top priority.”
Below is a video report from the Aug. 15 incident: