(JUNEAU, Alaska) – The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) today announced that the M/V Tustumena will need to remain in the Seward Ship’s Drydock longer than previously announced, due to repair work that failed U.S. Coast Guard inspections.
To ensure less disruption and inconvenience to ferry passengers, Marine Highway System managers are reconfiguring the schedule of the M/V Kennicott to provide service in September to Southcentral and Southwest Alaska, including the Aleutian Chain.
Recent inspections of the M/V Tustemena revealed that some of the work completed at Seward Ship’s Drydock still does not meet regulatory standards and must be redone before the ferry can be certified for passenger service. As the time needed to properly repair the vessel is still being determined, AMHS has cancelled M/V Tustumena sailings through September.
“We are extremely dismayed that the Tustumena is not ready to return to service,” said Commissioner Pat Kemp, ADOT&PF. “This delay affects many communities, residents and small businesses across Alaska. Our top concern is that Alaskans get the ferry service they depend on as quickly as possible. The safety of Alaskans, however, can never be compromised.”
During the last few months, ADOT&PF has investigated a number of alternatives in an effort to provide ferry service to affected communities. The department attempted to hire private vessels to provide ferry service to Kodiak Island communities, but received no viable proposals. AMHS also analyzed reassigning the Kennicott from its regular summer sailings. However, this disruption would have resulted in a much greater impact across the entire marine highway system. With no reasonable alternatives available, the department has increased its efforts to ensure the shipyard delivers the vessel as soon as possible, while meeting all required safety regulations.
Alaska Marine Highway System staff is contacting affected passengers. For more information, please call your local terminal or the AMHS central reservations office at 1-907-465-3941 or toll free at 1-800-642-0066. An updated schedule will be made available online at FerryAlaska.com.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 254 airports, 11 ferries serving 35 communities, 5,619 miles of highway and 720 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.