Editor’s Note: Thank you to Kara Johnson – @TrueNWGirl29 on X – for the video.
As high winds whipped Elliott Bay on the afternoon of Nov. 2, a King County Water Taxi’s crew took fast action to intercept an unmoored, 300-foot container barge floating toward the Seattle waterfront.
The water taxi—the MV Doc Maynard—had just departed Seacrest Dock in West Seattle when the crew spotted a fully-loaded barge moving across Elliott Bay without the typical tugboat escorts. The massive vessel was headed in the direction of the Great Wheel and the Seattle Aquarium. As reported by the Seattle Times, evacuation orders were given at the aquarium when employees saw the barge moving toward them.
Thankfully, MV Doc Maynard Capt. Dan Krehbiel and crewmembers Cory Bantam and Nick Williams were able to swiftly intervene to divert the barge. Without incurring damage to the water taxi, the Doc Maynard successfully nudged the vessel north. Other vessels were then able to assist in regaining control of the barge.
King County Executive Dow Constantine thanked the water taxi crew for their quick action.
King County Metro General Manager Michelle Allison also lauded the MV Doc Maynard. “We’re very proud of our captain and crew,” said Allison. “They recognized the danger this loose barge represented and then took quick action to protect people and the busy Seattle waterfront.”
There was appreciation for the crew on social media, too:
“Otters saved by transit. The @KingCountyMetro water taxi stopped a runway barge from crashing into the @SeattleAquarium” -Kirk Hovenkotter, @khoven
“Here’s the King County Water Taxi acting as offensive lineman for Seattle’s waterfront yesterday against a wayward barge” -David Kroman, @KromanDavid
“The Water Taxi trying to save the waterfront is truly iconic.” -Zoey Jordan Salsbury, @zoeyjsalsbury
“The Water Taxi tried to push the barge from the side. Love to see Seattle transit heroism.” -Jackson Teal, @jbteal
“I was on the phone with my aunt who lives down there as this was happening. Grateful for all of those who averted a larger disaster!” -Heather Ure, @riotheatherrr