More Alaska Ferries Laid Up
January 1, 2020
Budget cuts, the result of lower oil production on Alaska’s North Slope, have seen a number of ferries operated by the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) taken out of service. Last autumn AMHS laid up its largest ship, the 418-foot Columbia, after having previously mothballed its two fast ferries, Fairweather and Chenega, both now to be sold.
Just before winter it found that repairs required by its 56-year-old Malaspina also exceed budget and it too was laid up. This was followed by disclosure that both the 46-year-old LeConte and 43-year-old Aurora needed repairs and that there was only money enough to fix one ship, with Aurora since laid up and LeConte not expected to re-enter service until May.
When its ten-ship fleet is operating AMHS serves 35 communities spread over more than 3,000 miles stretching from the Aleutian Islands to Bellingham, Washington.