The ferry Samish, less than a year old, has been dry-docked for repairs and investigation after a small hole formed below the water line.
The new ferry Samish — in service less than a year — is already sidelined for repairs after crew found a quarter-sized hole in the hull.
The vessel was examined by divers and has been dry-docked in Anacortes after being taken off the San Juan routes last week, said Ian Sterling, spokesman for Washington State Ferries. After some patchwork, it should return to service about March 10, he said.
The 1,500-passenger, 144-car Samish began operating in June 2015, at a cost of $126 million for design and construction.
The state is filing a warranty claim to recover repair costs, Sterling said.
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The ferry Kitsap has been moved to the San Juan route.
Corrosion specialists are investigating at least two theories for why damage occurred below the waterline near one of the engine rooms:
• A reaction between metals, where a cooling system that includes bronze is positioned near the steel hull. The system resembles a radiatorin which liquid surrounds many coolant pipes, Sterling said. The chilly Puget Sound water outside the hull aids in dissipating heat.
• Stray electrical current, which is a common risk to machinery, railroads and bridges.
Divers on Friday will examine the Samish’s sister vessel, the Tokitae, which usually runs between Mukilteo and South Whidbey Island.
A third Olympic-class vessel, the Chimacum, is being built in the Vigor Industrial shipyard, on Seattle’s Harbor Island, to join the fleet next year.
Sterling said only “a few gallons” of water got into the Samish before crew members stopped the leak, and there was never a threat the ferry would list or capsize.