Matanuska ferry coming back into service

Passenger Ryan Blackadar aboard the M/V Aurora. (Sept. 19, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
Passenger Ryan Blackadar aboard the ferry M/V Aurora. (Sept. 19, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

State ferry passengers in Southeast Alaska will regain service on the Matanuska on Dec. 2, while the Malaspina is unmanned for long-term layup, Alaska Marine Highway System officials confirmed on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

The Malaspina is to end service upon arrival in Ketchikan on or about Dec. 2.

AMHS is already taking reservations in coming months at ferryalaska.com for more limited travel on the Matanuska, due to state budget cuts.

No long-term decisions have been made at this time regarding the future of the Malaspina, which was scheduled for overhaul this winter. A preliminary investigation revealed extensive steel replacement was needed and repair of the 56-year-old vessel was estimated to be at least $16 million. According to AMHS, that amount is in excess of the available budget and so that work cannot be completed at this time.