Washington State Ferries christens fourth Olympic class ferry

The fourth of four 362’3″x83’2″x18′ Olympic Class car ferries for Washington State Ferries was christened in early January. The christening marks the 1,500-passenger, 144 car Suquamish’s final stage of construction and its preparation for sea trials.

Built at the Jesse Co.’s fabrication facility near the Port of Tacoma, Wash., the 1,600-short-ton top half of the new ferry was brought to Vigor’s Seattle shipyard in August 2017 where it was mated to the hull.

“The state’s wise decision to build these four Olympic Class ferries in succession resulted in cost reductions and quality improvements in each successive build,” said Vigor’s CEO Frank Foti. “Vigor and the skilled men and women who built these ferries are honored to partner with Washington State Ferries and we commend the Legislature for its critical investments in marine transportation for the state’s citizens.”

With a displacement of 4,384 LT, the new ferry is powered by twin EMD 12-710G7C-T3 engines, producing 3,000 hp each. The mains are connected to two Rolls-Royce, 4-bladed, 138″-diameter, stainless steel, controllable pitch props through Falk 44x14DMH2S marine gears with 4.986:1 reduction ratios. The new ferry’s running speed is 17 knots.

The Suquamish will begin its sea trials in mid-2018 and will start carrying passengers beginning in the fall. The new ferry will operate on the Mukilteo/Clinton route in the summer and serve as a maintenance relief vessel in the winter, filling in when other vessels are out of service.

Ship’s service power comes from three Volvo-Penta diesels with Newage alternators, sparking 300 kW of electrical power each.

Control responsibilities are handled by a ZF Marine Propulsion Control System with Rockwell Allen Bradley SLC 500 PLC systems. Suquamish also features a Rolls-Royce SV650-3 FCP rotary vane steering system. Capacities include 79,510 gals. of fuel oil and 17,108 gals potable water.

The Washington State Transportation Commission selected the vessel name in 2016 to honor the Suquamish people, a tribe that has inhabited the central Puget Sound for approximately 10,000 years. The Suquamish name translates into the “people of the clear salt water” in Southern Salish Lushootseed language.

Suquamish is the fourth funded Olympic Class ferry to replace the aging, midcentury-era Evergreen State Class vessels. The first Olympic Class vessel, Tokitae, joined the Mukilteo/Clinton route in June 2014. The second, Samish, began service on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route in June 2015. Chimacum, the third vessel in the class, entered service on the Seattle/Bremerton route in June 2017. — Ken Hocke

About the author

Ken Hocke

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.

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