New Alaska ferry launches at Ketchikan Shipyard
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The construction of the second of two new Alaska state ferries is nearing completion.
The 280-foot (85-meter) ferry Hubbard was lowered into the water for the first time at the Ketchikan Shipyard last week and checked for possible leaks, the Ketchikan Daily News reported Saturday.
The vessel is being built by Vigor Alaska, which also constructed its sister ship Tazlina. The ferry Tazlina launched in May and was christened in August.
The remainder of work on the Hubbard consists of interior outfitting and finishing. That includes installing light fixtures, sinks, toilets, interior walls and flooring, Vigor Dockmaster Greg Howe said.
Both ferries were scheduled to be delivered to the Alaska Marine Highway System this month, but officials said the Hubbard won’t be completed until March 2019.
Vigor Alaska is setting the finishing touches on the Tazlina and has submitted transfer paperwork, said Doug Ward, the director of shipyard development.
The ferries are expected to hold up to 300 passengers and 53 standard vehicles, and were designed to be more fuel efficient.
Both ships were initially planned to operate as day boats in southeast Alaska, serving Juneau, Haines and Skagway. The Alaska Marine Highway System had announced last-minute design alterations to add crew quarters to the ferries. Officials said the proposed change to the plan was intended to help standardize the fleet and expand the vessels’ capabilities.
Ward said the Alaska Marine Highway System has delayed that modification for a later date, so the ships will not be delivered with crew quarters.
The vessels are expected to enter service in May.
Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com