Ferry Matanuska moves to Ketchikan shipyard for repairs

The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Matanuska in dry dock at the Ketchikan shipyard in 2014. (Photo by CoastAlaska)

The state ferry Matanuska is at a Ketchikan shipyard this week for repairs.

The 57-year-old ship broke down in January leaving Petersburg, Wrangell and other Southeast Alaska communities without ferry service. A reduction gear on the boat failed, leaving it with just one working engine. The Matanuska sailed Friday, March 6, from the ferry terminal in Auke Bay in Juneau on one engine, along with a tug escort, according to ferry system officials.

Marine highway spokesperson Sam Dapcevich said the ferry arrived at the Vigor shipyard in Ketchikan around 9 a.m. Sunday, March 8.

“So all the parties involved are still sorting the issue out,” Dapcevich said. “The ferry system is working with Vigor Maritime to return the Matanuska to service as soon as we can.”

A spokesperson for the company says the ferry is awaiting dry docking at the shipyard and the needed parts have been received.Jill Mackie is senior vice president of public affairs for Vigor. She writes in an email that the company has not fully determined if the repair work, replacement of an oil cooler for the reduction gear, is covered under warranty. The state believes the warranty does cover the replacement.

Repairs could be completed in May and the ship is on the schedule to return to service on June 2. Just last fall the ship had finished up a two-year overhaul that the state now says cost 47 million dollars. Mainline service to Petersburg and Wrangell is not expected until the start of sailings by a different ship, the Columbia, on April 14.

 

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