Tustumena return to service further delayed
June 8th 11:33 pm | Staff Report
Extensive damaged steel discovered on the vessel, more repair work is needed
The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) announced today that more wasted steel was discovered in the engine room of the M/V Tustumena and repairs will require additional time at the Vigor Ketchikan Shipyard.
The Tustumena went in for its scheduled annual overhaul on March 13 and was originally scheduled to return to service on May 27. In early May, damaged steel was discovered in the engine room and the Tustumena's return to service was initially pushed back to July 18. With this recent discovery of additional wasted steel, AMHS anticipates United States Coast Guard approval for the Tustumena's return to service departing Homer at 5 p.m. Aug. 15?
This delay impacts communities in Southwest Alaska and along the Aleutian chain. Usually, there are 10 trips scheduled along the Aleutian chain each year. Because of these delays, there will now be three remaining trips this year, with the first chain trip commencing on August 22.
The Tustumena is 53 years old. A replacement vessel has been designed, but is awaiting construction funding in the pending fiscal year 2018 capital budget. AMHS staff is contacting affected passengers. An updated schedule will be made available online at FerryAlaska.com.
Coastal Transportation, based in Seattle, continues to be an option for AMHS customers impacted by the Tustumena delay. Coastal Transportation can accommodate vehicles on an as-able basis, at the same cost as AMHS, transporting from Homer to Kodiak and to Aleutian destinations.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 242 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, over 5,600 miles of highway and 731 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska.