State transportation officials say Alaska Marine Highway System ferry M/V Matanuska won’t be back in service until Jan. 31, due to the extent of additional repairs needed at the Ketchikan shipyard, plus delays of supplies from vendors.
AMHS officials said on Monday, Dec. 27, that welders at the Ketchikan shipyard were working extended hours to complete the replacement and repair of damaged steel on the 58-year-old vessel, which serves Bellingham, Juneau, Haines and Skagway, among other communities.
Steel damage is not uncommon on older ships and must be repaired, per U.S. Coast Guard requirements, for the safety of passengers and crew. Additional repairs of control systems, the waste heat boiler system and a generator repair are needed, and vendor delays are impacting the work schedule, officials said.
The delay will result in cancellation of a Jan. 24 Matanuska sailing to Bellingham. Passengers have been advised to rebook on a later sailing date or seek alternative arrangements to reach their destination.
Sailings from Haines and Skagway are also affected. AMHS is working on alternatives for those sailings, including crewing the Tazlina to provide service to Northern Lynn Canal and other communities.