Two ferries collide in Ketchikan

U.S. Coast Guard officials are investigating the Jan. 14 collision of the M/V Kennicott with the M/V Hubbard during the docking of the Kennicott at Ketchikan.

Alaska Marine Highway System officials said neither ship is in service and that no crew members on board were injured in the incident. Both ferries sustained minor damage.

The Kennicott had just entered its annual overhaul period and the Hubbard is scheduled to begin a capital improvement project involving construction of crew quarters.

AMHS officials said they don’t anticipate incident damages will impact the project timelines or return to service dates for either vessel.

The Hubbard, one of two Alaska Class Ferries, is scheduled for construction of crew quarters, which will enable longer voyages for the ship, reaching more ports and increasing system wide flexibility. The contract was awarded to Vigor at the Ketchikan shipyard on Jan. 13.

The $15 million project will modify the ferry to construct eight single person staterooms on the bridge deck and eight two-person staterooms on the upper deck. Additional work will include installation of a galley, scullery and mess spaces on the upper deck, a new fan room on the bridge deck and extension of the existing port stair tower to the bridge deck to serve the new accommodations.

Deputy Transportation Commissioner Rob Carpenter said that AMHS needs its ships to be flexible and able to provide the redundancy necessary for system-wide reliability.

“Our fleet is aging, and we need ships that can be Swiss Army knives with the capability to serve as many of our coastal communities as possible,” he said. “These projects, along with the Tustumena replacement vessel, are part of our fleet modernization efforts. By reinvesting in our marine highway, we’re ensuring the economic viability of our coastal communities; connecting them to each other and the rest of Alaska’s transportation network.”

The $9.4 million Tustumena capital improvement project was awarded to JAG at the Seward shipyard on Dec. 28.