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State cancels annual holiday cruise for disabled people

The Active Ferry Employees Charitable Trust sponsors an annual Holiday Cruise for people with disabilities. The event is cancelled this year because of ferry maintenance issues. (WSDOT photo from last year's cruise)

The Washington State Department of Transportation is canceling an event that’s become a holiday tradition for about 1,000 developmentally disabled people.

Since 1983, The Active Ferry Employees Charitable Trust has sponsored a holiday cruise for people with developmental disabilities.

Ferry system volunteers, Seafair pirates and Santa make the event memorable.

This year, it won’t happen.

The 90-minute cruise around Elliot Bay aboard a ferry was set for Saturday, but passengers were told this week it is being called off.

There are too many ferries out of service for repairs and the vessel they were planning to use, the Tacoma, needs to be put back into regular service on December 15.

“It is with sadness that we cancel the holiday cruise,” David Moseley, assistant secretary for the WSDOT said in a statement. “Given our reduced capacity with multiple vessels out of service, we need to return this large ferry to our system in order to serve our customers.”

Three ferry vessels are expected to return to service in the next two weeks, but not in enough time to save the party.

The 202-car Tacoma, in for routine maintenance, is expected to return to service Friday night. That will be followed Monday by the return of the 90-car Sealth, now awaiting dry dock availability for weld repairs. The 144-car Hyak, also in for routine maintenance, is expected to be back on its route in late December following Coast Guard inspection.

Two other ferries, the 87-car Klahowya and the 188-car Walla Walla, are expected to return to service mid-January and spring 2013, respectively. The Klahowya is awaiting repairs to a propulsion generator, while the Walla Walla is awaiting repairs to a drive motor.



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