Bomb scare turns out to be ‘bong’ scare

A suspicious item that put two Washington State Ferries routes on ice for an hour Wednesday turned out to be a duct-tape tube smelling of pot, the Washington State Patrol reported.

Spokesman Craig Johnson said the item was discovered during the crew’s regular security sweep shortly after the M/V Puyallup emptied of cars and walk-on passengers around 8 a.m. Aug. 22 at Colman Dock.

“They saw something that looked out of place and notified officers on the dock,” Johnson said, explaining that the item was wrapped in carpet and placed in the men’s restroom.

Johnson said a bomb technician responded to examine the item, and quickly determined “it was not an explosive and never posed a danger.”

Instead, Johnson said, it was a hollowed-out roll of duct tape fortified with small wooden sticks that was about 10-inches long.

“The bomb technician also determined that it had the odor of burnt marijuana, and we’re having a hard time making sense of that,” Johnson said. “(Because) if you used it to smoke, it would be like smoking duct tape, as well.”

Although the Bremerton and Bainbridge sailings from Seattle were delayed an hour after the item was found, Johnson said overall the incident proved the right systems were in place.

“Everything worked exactly as it was supposed to and there was minimal delay,” he said. “The bomb technician came in very quickly, and the boats were moving again within an hour.”

Johnson said a crew member discovered the item during the standard security sweep that staff members perform after a ferry boat docks.

“After it empties of cars and passengers, the crew looks for that car that may have stalled around the corner, or that passenger up top that may have fallen asleep, or a briefcase left behind — as well as anything out of the ordinary,” he said.

He urged all passengers to keep an eye out for suspicious items, as well, and said any time someone notices something they believe does not belong, they should immediately notify a crew member, an officer, or call 911.

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