Fast ferry lawsuit could be settled before trial

The State of Alaska and builders of the engines for the fast ferries say they are close to settling the long-running lawsuit.

Attorneys for both sides say they have been working for the last two weeks to reach an agreement. But on Monday they asked the judge in the case not to take the trial off of the court calendar yet.

The State of Alaska alleges that the high-performance diesel engines for the ferries Fairweather and Chenega were defective. That has been disputed by the German manufacturer MTU Friedrichshafen and its American subsidiary MTU Detroit Diesel, now known as Tognum America.

The lawsuit was filed three years ago next month.

Trial in the case is expected to start on April 8th.

Another court hearing on the potential settlement agreement is scheduled for Friday, March 1st.

The settlement is being described as very complex and not just payment of a lump sum to the State of Alaska. It’s also expected to define the future relationship between the State and MTU for continued maintenance and repairs of the engines.