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
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
"Obviously, there may be some schedule adjustments, but
we'll do the best we can to accommodate our very patient passengers,"
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
"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
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: http://dot.alaska.gov/amhs/Changes/index.html
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