Port lowers asking price for Kingston Express

KINGSTON — The Kingston Express, one of the two boats used in the Port of Kingston’s now-defunct SoundRunner ferry service, has recently been priced to sell.

Port commissioners recently agreed to lower the price of the boat by $100,000 — to $299,500 — at the recommendation of Port Manager Jim Pivarnik. Pivarnik said the boat wasn’t getting enough attention at its previous price, despite the port changing brokers to one which specializes in selling ferries.

“It just hasn’t moved. Every time he pushes it out there, they say, ‘We want catamarans. We want newer. We want whatever.’ No one wants a slow, mono-hull anymore,” Pivarnik said.

According to Pivarnik, the vessel would be better suited as a crew boat.

“It needs to go to Southern California and be a crew boat to take people out to oil platforms or something like that. That’s its best use,” Pivarnik said.

The Kingston Express and the Spirit of Kingston were initially purchased with a $3.5 million grant from the Federal Transit Authority. After the ferry service was scrapped in 2012, the port had to either transfer ownership of the boats to another public agency or pay back the grant money. The Spirit of Kingston was transferred to the King County Ferry District in 2013 but the Kingston Express has remained unsold.

At the moment, the Port of Kingston owes $436,000 to the FTA for the boat. Each year, the port spends about $20,000 on mechanical maintenance to ensure that the vessel remains in a sellable condition.

“Mechanically, it’s in great shape,” Pivarnik said. “We took it to Port Townsend last year, pulled it, did all the zincs, cleaned the prop shafts … It runs like a champ.”

Pivarnik said the plan to lower the asking price of the boat is mainly to get it sold and be rid of the burden once and for all.

“Our idea is, ‘Let’s get rid of it.’ We know we’ll have to match the difference” between the seeling price and the grant amount owed, Pivarnik said. “Quite frankly, the boat’s been sitting here idle for five years and it’s depreciating on a daily basis.”

Pivarnik said the port needs the space on the barge to which the Kingston Express is currently moored. The Port of Kingston is anticipating the return of passenger ferry service to Seattle in summer 2018 and needs the space to make room for the new ferries.

“It’s docked right now exactly where the Kitsap Transit ferry is going to be docked,” Pivarnik said. “We gotta move that by June or I’m not going to be in place for Kitsap Transit’s ferry.”

The vessel can be found for sale at www.pinnaclemarine.com/portfolio-item/kingston-express/.

— Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter for Kitsao News Group. Contact him at ntwietmeyer@soundpublishing.com.

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