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Governor Signs Bill Naming New State Ferry "Lituya"
Ferry Named By Josiah Milne of Metlakatla


August 08, 2003
Friday - 7:40 pm

Ketchikan, Alaska - One of the three bill signed into law today in Ketchikan by Governor Frank Murkowski named the new state ferry the "Lituya."

Josiah Milne of Metlakatla & his mother Sarah Milne joined Governor Murkowski at the podium as he signed the bill naming the new state ferry the "Lituya"...
Photo by Dick Kauffman

The bill, SB 223 naming the new state ferry "Lituya", was introduced at the request of Lt. Governor Loren Leman, as the conclusion of a contest held among grade school students to name the new ferry. Josiah Milne of Metlakatla wrote the winning essay naming the Lituya.

Before signing the bill, Governor Murkowski invited Josiah Milne of Metlakatla and his mother Sara Milne to join him at the podium. After the bill was signed, Governor Murkowski presented Josiah and his mother pens.

The new state ferry "Lituya" is named after the Lituya Glacier, which empties into Lituya Bay on the outer coast of Glacier Bay which was the site of one of the largest local tsunamis ever recorded. On July 7, 1958 an earthquake of 8.0 magnitude occurred along the Fairweather fault, just 13 miles from Lituya Bay. The earthquake triggered a rockslide that sent water surging to a height of 1720 feet, stripping all vegetation on the point opposite of the rockslide.

Eyewitness accounts state that the wave created was over one hundred feet at its highest point, causing the clearing of many trees and taking the lives of two boaters.

The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities Southeast Regional Director, Bob Doll, signed a contract for the construction of the new Metlakatla ferry with Conrad Industries of Morgan City, Louisiana in November. The new ferry "Lituya" will be dedicated to the Metlakatla-Ketchikan run.

The new state ferry "Lituya"
Graphic courtesy Alaska Department of Transportation

According to information provided by the Alaska Department of Transportation, 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. The overall length of the new Metlakatla Ferry, as shown in the graphic, will be about 180 feet, with a beam of 50 feet and a draft of 10 and one-half feet. The new vessel will have an enclosed pilot house and passenger lounge and will carry up to 149 passengers and 18 passenger vehicles. According to information provided at Friday's news conference, the "Lituya" is expected to be launched in December of 2003 and in service by May of 2004.

The construction cost for the federally funded ferry "Lituya" is approximately $9.7 million. 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 they will be studying its performance closely.





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