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Washington State Ferries receives “all-clear” after threat
As of 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, Washington State Ferries received the "all-clear" to begin service following a nearly three-hour shutdown, according to spokeswoman Susan Harris-Huether.
Kitsap Transit’s foot ferry service was shutdown soon after an apparent threat to a WSF vessel leaving Bremerton was called in, but the agency’s public information coordinator Lori Talbert said the service was expected to begin operating again by the 4:15 p.m. sailing departing from Bremerton.
During the shutdown, Talbert said the agency had two vans and a bus shuttling passengers between Port Orchard and Bremerton. Talbert said she was on the ferry scheduled to depart Seattle for Bremerton at 12:45 p.m., but was re-routed to Bainbridge Island and driven via bus to Bremerton.
“It actually took us about the same amount of time,” she said.
Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Trooper Krista Hedstrom said an unknown man called 911 around 12:30 p.m. from the 7-Eleven store in downtown Bremerton to report a potential threat to a WSF ferry.
“He had overheard two male subjects talking about a terrorist threat to the next ferry departing Bremerton,” Hedstrom said, explaining that when dispatchers attempted to get more information from the caller, the connection was lost. “We don't know if it was a bad connection or if he hung up.”
She said the M/V Hyak had just left the ferry terminal for Seattle around the time of the call and was then sent back.
“All the passengers were unloaded, the terminal was cleared of passengers, and the Coast Guard and WSP bomb squad responded to make sure the vessel was safe,” she said, adding that officials did not find anything of concern, and the terminal was re-opened around 3:48 p.m.
“It did not sound like a credible threat at the time, but we have to take those precautions, and our primary concern is the safety of the public,” she said, explaining that threat seemed less credible given that it was reported anonymously and was heard third-hand.