Alaska Ferry M/V Matanuska departed from Juneau
March 6, 2020
The Alaska Ferry M/V Matanuska departed from Juneau today on its way to the Ketchikan Vigor Shipyard for repairs to its propulsion system. The United States Coast Guard approved a sailing plan for Matanuska to travel to Ketchikan on one engine, along with a tug escort provided by Vigor Marine.
The ship returned to service in November 2019 after a two-year, $47 million overhaul. The System anticipates that Matanuska’s repairs will be completed at some point in May and hopes that the vessel can be ready for revenue service shortly following completion of the repairs.
The Matanuska has been docked in Juneau since Jan. 25 and has undergone an evaluation to determine the cause of the reduction gear failure. During this time, crew prepared the ship to safely operate on one engine for the trip to Ketchikan. Vigor Marine has determined that additional repairs must take place at their Ketchikan shipyard – the System is working with Vigor to return Matanuska to service as soon as possible.
Alaska Ferry mainline service has been offline for approximately a month due to a combination of unanticipated mechanical issues and overlapping overhaul periods for ships. On March 5, the M/V Tazlina returned to service in the Northern Panhandle. The M/V Columbia is expected to return to service April 14, and will cover most of Matanuska’s scheduled service that month. The M/V Kennicott is expected to resume service April 16, and shortly afterward will head north to provide some added stops in Prince William Sound. The M/V Tustumena is expected to resume service May 2 and will restore southwest Alaska’s connection with the Kenai Peninsula.
During the unanticipated gap in service, the System provided some interim charter service to communities in Southeast Alaska. The communities of Kake, Angoon, and Tenakee received trips connecting them with Juneau Feb. 29 and March 3. The community of Kake will receive round-trip charters from Juneau March 21 and 29 to accommodate travelers for the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. Additional charter trips are being considered to provide service where necessary.