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Ferry Matanuska conducts successful docking test in Prince Rupert
Safety concerns had closed Prince Rupert dock


March 30, 2008

The crew aboard the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) ferry Matanuska successfully moored at the BC Ferries docking facility today.
AMHS officials tested the facility after learning late Thursday that Prince Rupert city officials closed its dock after an engineers' report deemed it unsafe.
"We're extremely pleased that Matanuska and now the Taku can tie up in Prince Rupert and lessen any potential scheduling conflicts for our passengers," said Dennis Hardy, Deputy Commissioner of Marine Operations. "Certainly, we appreciate the invaluable cooperation exhibited by the BC Ferries leadership and staff."
"Obviously, there may be some schedule adjustments, but we'll do the best we can to accommodate our very patient passengers," said Hardy.

The Alaska Marine Highway System announced Friday the cancellation of two sailings aboard the vessel Taku, north and southbound, between Skagway and Prince Rupert, British Columbia (BC), Canada.
The Taku made all scheduled stops between Skagway and Ketchikan but did not carry passengers or vehicles between Ketchikan and Prince Rupert Saturday and back to Ketchikan Sunday, March 30.
"We received notification [Thursday] from Prince Rupert city officials that they closed their city-owned ferry docking facility," said Dennis Hardy, Deputy Commissioner of Marine Operations for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT & PF).
Prince Rupert officials closed its facility after an engineer's report concluded that its dock poses an unacceptable level of safety risk.
"We had safety concerns, so we repeatedly asked city officials for a thorough engineers' report," Hardy said.
AMHS officials began plans at that time to determine the feasibility of mooring its ferries at the BC Ferries dock adjacent to the Prince Rupert dock. Officials with BC Ferries authorized AMHS to use its dock.
"The plan calls for mooring the Matanuska at the BC Ferries location at 3 a.m. Sunday," said Hardy. "We want to know with 100 percent certainty that our vessels can dock their safely. We're sending a professional engineer and a shore side maintenance supervisor to analyze the situation and determine if our ships can moor there safely and lessen any impacts on scheduling."
After learning of the situation and its potential effects to the AMHS movement of people and goods, DOT & PF Commissioner Leo von Scheben expressed his commitment to providing safe travel aboard AMHS ferries.
"Nothing can ever interfere with the safety of the passengers and crew who trust us to ensure that they safely reach their destinations aboard Alaska's ferries," von Scheben emphasized.
Late Friday afternoon, AMHS officials received assurance from Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond stating that his city would fully fund and complete the necessary repairs and upgrades for safe usage by May 26.
"The mayor's assurance that the facility will be fixed and safely functional is very promising to us, and we hope this cooperation helps us maintain a solid business partnership with Prince Rupert and Mayor Pond," said von Scheben.

Following the successful morring of the Matanuska at the BC Ferries docking facility today, AMHS management is advising customers to contact its reservations line at 1-800-642-0066 or visit its up-to-date website for last minute schedule changes. The web address is: .


Source of News:

Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska