Historic ferry sinks at the pier in Astoria, Oregon

Image courtesy USCG

Posted on August 1, 2022 at 9:54 p.m. by

The Maritime Executive

The historic ferry Tourist II partially sank on a pier in Astoria, Oregon on July 28, interrupting her long and storied career.

The ship sank Friday morning at its berth, according to the US Coast Guard. A containment boom was deployed around the ferry to reduce the risk of pollution, and an oil spill response organization was contracted to provide cleanup services. No one was on board at the time of the sinking.

The Tourist II has a long history in the Pacific Northwest. She was built in 1924 for a lucrative private ferry route between Astoria and Megler, Washington, near the mouth of the Columbia River. At the start of World War II, she was sold to the Army for use as a minelayer and freighter in and around Astoria. As soon as the war was over, her original owner bought her out of the army and sent her back to work on the ferry route. She operated on the same service until the Astoria-Megler Bridge was completed in 1966, which ended ferry operations in the area.

After the ferry service closes, Tourist II was transferred to Pierce County, Washington, where she worked on the Puget Sound as a Pierce County Islander. In 1996, she was purchased by Seattle harbor cruise line Argosy Cruises and renamed the Kirkland. She underwent a major refit and began her new career in the dinner cruise business, operating in and around freshwater Lake Washington.

However, the ship suffered a fire in 2010 while docked at Kirkland, and the engine room was destroyed. Argosy declared the ship a total loss; a private collector restored it and it eventually found its way into the hands of a non-profit organization in Astoria – his hometown.

According to Restore Oregon, as of 2018 the ship suffered from leaky weather decks and showed signs of interior deterioration. His future is now unknown.