Saturday, 19 February 2011

Washington state sells 2 ferries to Tanzania

The state finally has sold two of its discarded passenger-only ferries, the Kalama and the Skagit, to the African nation Tanzania.

The ferries have been docked and inactive since September 2009. The Legislature ordered the state to get out of the passenger-only ferry business in '06.

The two ferries had been sold to a boat broker in Port Coquitlam, B.C., which sold them to Tanzania. They will be put in service between the mainland of Tanzania and the Zanzibar archipelago. They were sold for $400,000 combined, far below the $900,000 value the state said they were worth in December 2009.

Marta Coursey, spokeswoman for Washington State Ferries, said the two boats will be taken to Africa by cargo ship.

The state had hoped to sell the two 112-foot boats locally, but when that failed, it placed them for auction on eBay, asking $300,000 each, with no success. The ferries were built in New Orleans and purchased in 1989 for $5 million.

Ferry historian Steve Pickens said the Kalama and the Skagit were the first two passenger-only boats the state built. They were supposed to go into service in 1989 but were tied up because there was no money to run them. Following the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, the two vessels were sent to San Francisco and served commuters crossing the bay while the city's bridges were repaired.


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