SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


AMHS crews overcome burdensome weather, equipment failures on ferries


January 29, 2008

For much of Sunday, as chilling temperatures and high winds battered Southeast Alaska waters, crews aboard Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) ferries overcame sea spray and extreme icing that wreaked havoc for the crews and travelers.

jpg LeConte

Thick ice covers everything aboard the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) motor vessel LeConte as it sails off the coast of Hoonah Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008.
Official AMHS photo by Kurt Rehfeld,
Chief Purser, motor vessel LeConte

The motor vessel LeConte departed Hoonah around noon Monday, a day behind schedule, after the ship, its crew and passengers remained overnight there. While transiting from Juneau to Angoon, the LeConte crew measured sustained winds of 70-knots and a peak gust of 120-knots that created sea spray and excessive icing conditions.

"The icing aboard LeConte knocked out the ship's radar and GPS systems and also encased the engine room air intake vents," said Capt. Dave Jancauskas, AMHS Senior Port Captain in Ketchikan.

While in Hoonah, LeConte's crew broke apart the ice from the ship including its life boats and fast rescue vessel. The ship departed Hoonah with one operational radar and GPS system.

"The crew did an outstanding job combating the ice, and they also took every step to ensure that the passengers were properly accommodated with expense-free food and lodging while in Hoonah," said Jancauskas.

The LeConte arrived in Juneau Sunday afternoon.

High winds and freezing spray also created hazardous icing conditions to the 235-foot fast vehicle ferry Chenega, preventing it from sailing Saturday or Sunday. Chenega's passengers were re-booked aboard the Malaspina which departed Juneau one hour late Sunday.

The ferry Matanuska experienced an intermittently operable bow thruster, so the ship remained in Ketchikan. A technical engineer traveled to Ketchikan Monday with replacement parts, and was scheduled to arrive by 5 p.m., to assess the situation and attempt to repair the thruster. Matanuska was previously scheduled to sail at 5:45 a.m. Monday. AMHS engineers continue to evaluate the bow thruster's condition with assistance from technical advisors via teleconference. AMHS intended to have the malfunctioning bow thruster repaired and the ship sailing by 6 p.m. Monday

The bow thruster is a propulsion device installed in a ship's bow that is designed to enhance maneuverability. Bow thrusters ease docking and allow ship operators to turn the vessel to port or starboard without using its main propulsion mechanism, typically required for forward motion turning.

The vessel was scheduled to depart Ketchikan Monday evening with stops at Wrangell, Petersburg, Kake, and to Juneau, where it will resume the printed schedule southbound. The vessel would not stop at Sitka or Hoonah northbound. Persons holding bookings for Sitka and Hoonah were contacted and rebooked.


Source of News & Photograph:

Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska