No ferry to PWS until May 20

DOT seeks comment on draft schedule

The M/V Aurora crosses Prince William Sound. (Sept. 9, 2019) Photo courtesy of Hamish Laird
The M/V Aurora crosses Prince William Sound. (Sept. 9, 2019) Photo courtesy of Hamish Laird

A Tuesday, Jan. 21 draft ferry schedule has service to Prince William Sound resuming May 20. The M/V LeConte would sail between Cordova, Valdez and Whittier, offering service to Cordova three times per week between May–September. The LeConte would also service Tatitlek and Chenega Bay once per month during this period.

Cordova’s first fishing opener is traditionally scheduled for the week of May 11, before ferry service is set to resume. The SERVS Oil Spill Exercise Program is also typically held the final week of April.

“First Cordova ferry May 20?” wrote City Manager Helen Howarth in an email. “That schedule does not work for our gillnet fleet at all!! The proposed schedule will have a substantial economic impact on our community… A May 20 first ferry will leave many fishermen with delayed access to Cordova to participate in their livelihoods. They will miss a week or two of some of the most lucrative fishing of the season.”

Residents are invited to submit comments to prior to Feb. 3, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced in a Tuesday, Jan. 21 release. Public teleconferences are scheduled for Feb. 4, at 10 a.m. regarding Southeast schedules and at 1:30 p.m. regarding Southwest and Southcentral schedules. Residents can participate in either teleconference by phoning 1-515-604-9000, access code 279613.

Cathy Renfeldt, executive director of the Cordova Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber plans to comment during the hearing, and encouraged residents to participate as well.  The chamber plans to send out a template residents can use to submit email comments, Renfeldt said.

Margaret Bauman contributed to this report.