April 12, 2004
Photo by Gigi Pilcher ©2004
Twin engines, each with about 1,000 horsepower, will enable the ferry to operate in open water at speeds up to 12 knots. The design is similar to vessels used as offshore supply vessels (OSV) for oil field work. According to the Alaska Department of Transportation, this robust vessel could be operated in other open water areas in Southeast Alaska, so plans are to study its performance closely. The new vessel's rugged design will allow it to safely operate the 16.5 nautical mile run between the existing Ketchikan and Metlakatla terminals.
Alaska statute requires each State ferry to be named for an Alaskan glacier. Traditionally, the State has shared this task with Alaskan school children by holding a contest in which students write a short essay nominating their favorite glacier for the name of the next ferry. The winning essay naming the M/V Lituya was written by Josiah Milne when he was a second grade student at Metlakatla School. Milne's essay will be framed and hung on the Lituya. Students have named four ferries in the past six years.
The new ferry is expected to be in service by May 2004.