Saturday, February 16, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Ferry Chinook sets sail for eBay

Seattle Times staff reporter

The state ferry Chinook, which has been mothballed at the Eagle Harbor maintenance yard for the past four years, is for sale on eBay.

State officials put the boat on the online auction block Thursday night, with an asking price of at least $4.5 million.

It will remain for sale until Feb. 24.

The state had planned to sell the Chinook and its sister ship, the Snohomish, both passenger ferries that ran between Bremerton and Seattle until the state pulled out of the route. The state was hoping to get $9 million for both boats.

But just days before the auction was to begin in November, Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond beached the state's four steel-electric boats because of damaged hulls, and the Snohomish was put on the Port Townsend-Keystone route as a temporary measure. It's currently being used between Bremerton and Seattle, to replace the Yakima. The ferry was damaged when it ran into a breakwater last week.

The state decided to sell the Chinook to give money to King County, which is beginning its own passenger-ferry service between Seattle and Vashon Island. The Legislature said the county, or another government entity, could have the proceeds from the sale of the two idled ferries.

The Port of Kingston also wants to operate a passenger route to Seattle and may make a bid for the Chinook money.

"One of the compelling reasons for selling it is King County feels it needs the money," said ferry spokeswoman Marta Coursey. She said that, unlike the Snohomish, which remains in service, the Chinook, built in 1998, didn't have adequate landing gear and had limited usefulness for the ferry system. The 143-foot boat could carry 350 passengers.

This is the second time the state has sold a ferry on eBay. In 2003, after three days on the auction block, the ferry Tyee was sold to a Florida boat broker for $560,000.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company


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