Ferry will be laid up to save costs
The Alaska Marine Highway System plans to lay up the "Columbia" to save money. State transportation officials confirmed that the ferry will not sail past Sep 4, 2019. but remain out of service for the winter. The marine highway system will assess options for future use of the vessel when it looks at the results of the marine highway system economic restructuring analysis. The ferry runs primarily serves Lynn Canal communities and through the Inside Passage to Ketchikan, Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Bellingham, Washington. The state plans to assign the ferry’s 62 crew members to other vessels. There was concern among the ferry workers that continued cost-cutting will make it difficult for the marine highway to fulfill its core mission of connecting communities as the fleet continues to shrink. The legislature appropriated about $40 million less to the ferry system compared to last year.
Ferry temporarily fixed
The "Columbia" resumed normal operations on May 16, after undergoing repairs at Juneau. The vessel initially had been expected to depart from Ketchikan at least on May 12. However, the repairs are not completed yet. The engine manufacturer technician was able to make a temporary fix, and the ferry was cleared to sail by the US Coast Guard. The vessel will receive additional repairs when spare parts become available during the summer months.
Ferry broke down in Peril Strait
The "Columbia" broke down en route from Sitka to Petersburg Tuesday on May 7, 2019, at 9 p.m. leaving passengers stranded in Juneau while the DOT worked to diagnose the vessel’s problems. The ferry was traveling southbound from Sitka when one of its engines began to falter in the Peril Strait and was shut off. The captain decided to return to Juneau on one engine because it was easier to fix a vessel in Juneau than it would have been in Petersburg as well as to reroute passengers in coordination with the "Malaspina" so passengers would have an alternate way of getting to their destinations. A technician was called for troubleshooting.Upload News