SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


AMHS revises ferry Columbia's return to service date


May 16, 2008

In order to meet U.S. Coast Guard safety standards and receive a certificate of inspection (COI) from Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Portland, Oregon officials, the motor vessel Columbia will remain out of the Alaska Marine Highway System service until May 21 according to the system's general manager.

"We're in complete partnership with the Coast Guard and the shipyard workers to have a lightweight survey finished and receive the required COI before Columbia sets sail to Alaska with passengers and vehicles," said Capt. John Falvey, General Manager, AMHS. The required Coast Guard deadweight testing is designed to determine the ship's lightweight condition. Prior to commencing the test, all personnel and portable equipment and machinery must be removed from Columbia. After the testing is completed, the vessel is reloaded.

"Obviously, all of the movement of shipyard workers, crew and equipment off and onto the vessel takes time and creates time delays, setting Columbia slightly off schedule," Falvey said. "We know Columbia is safe, but at the same time, we're not about to ever put a price tag on passenger safety aboard any of Alaska's ferries."

Falvey said that shipyard workers worked throughout the night Thursday, and that Coast Guard officials agreed to continue their inspection process through the weekend to expedite the COI process.

During the schedule revision, the motor vessel Matanuska will remain on the Bellingham run for an additional week, and its Prince Rupert, British Columbia passenger and vehicle traffic will be transferred to other vessels.

"Columbia's passengers won't be affected by this unexpected delay, but it will hamper travel plans for Matanuska riders who made reservations between May 17th and the 21st," said newly appointed Deputy Commissioner of Marine Operations Jim Beedle. "At this point it's very important that those folks check with our reservations representatives to allow us to rearrange their itinerary to suit their travel needs."



Source of News:

Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska