Washington ferry

A Washington state ferry passes through a channel in the San Juan islands in view of Mount Baker in 2015. The state operates the largest fleet of ferries in the United States. One of the ferries, out of commission and auctioned off to a private buyer, could make its way to Oregon’s shores soon.

The new owner of a former Washington state ferry, which has been docked at the Port of Olympia for nearly three years, said Monday he plans to move the 310-foot vessel in the next 30 days. Bart Lematta of Vancouver, Washington, who was the winning bidder for the ferry late last year, said he is getting insurance and a vessel survey before he makes his next move.

One possibility is to move the ferry to Oregon, although he declined to name a specific destination. He also added that he needs a dock large enough to accommodate a 300-foot boat.

Lematta said he is paying a daily rate to dock the ferry at the port.

Lematta said that if the ferry isn’t moved in the next 30 days, he guaranteed it will be gone before the Ready Reserve Fleet ships arrive.

The two ships, the Admiral W.M. Callaghan and Cape Orlando, both of which measure more than 600 feet, are part of the Ready Reserve Fleet, also known as the Ready Reserve Force, which is part of the U.S. Maritime Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The two ships are expected in March .

“My financing is secure,” said Lematta. He has invested in electric car maker, Tesla, an electric car company in Vancouver, British Columbia, and he has ties to a family helicopter business started by his father, who later became a noted philanthropist.

Lematta said he remains committed to using renewable energy and exploring whether he can power the vessel with it.

“It’s central to everything I am,” he said about his interest in renewable energy sources, adding that he believes in sustainable jobs and a sustainable environment, wanting to give “future generations something to look forward to.”

Lematta paid $290,000 for the ferry at auction, a purchase he still considers one of the “best purchases of my life.”

Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.

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