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Fairweather Damaged by Rogue Wave in Lynn Canal
Expected To Be Out of Service for 2 Weeks for Repairs


December 18, 2004

Juneau, Alaska - The Alaska Marine Highway System's fast vehicle ferry, M/V Fairweather, is out of service for repairs to damage sustained Thursday afternoon when the vessel was hit by a rogue wave in Lynn Canal. The Fairweather was returning from Haines to Juneau on its regularly-scheduled route when the wave hit around 4 p.m. AMHS officials estimate the repairs, which must be US Coast Guard approved, will take two weeks to accomplish. There were no injuries to passengers, and the Fairweather proceeded on to its berth at Auke Bay.

jpg M/V Fairweather

M/V Fairweather at 42 knots during sea trials February 05, 2004
Photo courtesy Alaska DOT

"It appears that the damage is limited to the cowling between the two hulls of the catamaran," said Deputy Commissioner Tom Briggs, who examined the vessel this morning with other AMHS officials. "We will further assess the damage, and will know more after we download data from the data recorder, the ship's 'black box.' We are hopeful that the repairs can be done in two weeks, but will have a better idea after we do a complete assessment."

The cowling is a non-structural, protective component of the vessel designed to deflect water from the front of the boat between the two hulls. It was bent inward by the force of the wave slamming into it.

The M/V Fairweather is one of the newest vessels of the Marine Highway fleet. Built by Derecktor Shipyards of Bridgeport, Connecticut at a cost of $36 million, she began service in summer, 2004.

Briggs said ferry system officials have been in contact with Direcktor Shipyards in Connecticut, where the Fairweather was built, and will discuss the situation with the architect who designed the vessel, Nigel Gee and Associates in London, England. He expects the repairs to be made at the Auke Bay terminal.

Briggs said the AMHS managers are also looking at schedules to see how any of the other vessels in the fleet could be deployed to help fill in for the Fairweather while it is out of service.

The United States Coast Guard reported the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) is cooperating with U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, Juneau to investigate and evaluate structural damage sustained to the Ferry Fairweather.

The vessel was carrying 101 passengers at the time including the Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Office Juneau.  Coast Guard officials said, at no time during the voyage were the passengers in any danger.  The damage was discovered after the Fairweather was safely docked in Juneau upon completion of the voyage.  Damage was confined to a void space located at the forward part of the vessel between the two catamaran hulls.  Several of the internal structural fames were found damaged along with an 18-inch tear in the vessels hull plating. All damage is approximately 14 feet above the waterline.  Coast Guard Marine Inspectors examined the damage and Fairweather has been prohibited from carrying passengers or vehicles until satisfactory repairs have been completed. 

A Coast Guard investigation is being conducted.  The USCG reported the vessel's master reduced speed during the voyage and crewmembers took steps to ensure the safety of the passengers.  

The Coast Guard will remain engaged throughout the repair process and will review and approve all repair proposals. One of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office's many mission is to inspect commercial vessel's plying U.S. waters to ensure they are safely maintained to prevent vessel casualties.

In another incident related to Thursday's severe weather throughout northern Southeast, the passenger gangway at the Skagway ferry terminal was blown away from the dock to the beach.


Source of News:

Alaska Department of Transportation
Web Site

United States Coast Guard
Web Site


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