VESSEL REVIEW | Hubbard – New ferry for Alaska Marine Highway

VESSEL REVIEW | Hubbard – New ferry for Alaska Marine Highway

Photo: Alaska Department of Transportation

The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has begun operating the latest addition to its fleet of lifeline Ro-Pax ferries that serve the state’s remote coastal communities.

Hubbard is the second of two Alaska-class ferries built for AMHS by Vigor Industrial via its Vigor Alaska facilities in Ketchikan. Operating alongside earlier sister Tazlina, which was delivered in 2019, Hubbard will serve citizens along the Lynn Canal route between Juneau, Haines, and Skagway.

Photo: Workman

Vigor said the design for the Alaska-class needed to overcome the challenges of Alaska’s heavy seas, high winds, and freezing spray. Testing was performed on the hull form in a wave tank at Force Technology Denmark to allow Seattle-based naval architecture firm the Elliott Bay Design Group to optimise performance in heavy seas and improve passenger comfort. Both Alaska-class vessels are classed ABS Ro/Ro and can carry 300 passengers plus 14 crewmembers and 53 vehicles via both a bow and stern door.

The ferry has a length of 280 feet (85.3 metres), a beam of 67 feet (20.4 metres), a draught of 13.5 feet (4.1 metres), and a deadweight of 3,000. Two 3,000hp (2,237kW) main engines drive Kongsberg Maritime propellers to deliver a speed of 17.5 knots. Electrical power is supplied by three Caterpillar C18 generators, one of which is reserved for emergencies.

Accommodations include eight single-person and eight two-person cabins for the crew, a galley, and a mess. The original design did not include crew cabins; these were incorporated during construction to allow for a maximum of 12 working hours plus rest periods per day in compliance to US Coast Guard requirements.

Hubbard began conducting operational sailings in May 2023. The vessel will initially sail along the Lynn Canal route but will expand to include other stops at Tatitlek, Chenega, and Pelican following the completion of adequate jetty infrastructure in those communities.

Photo: Ramsey

Click here to read other news stories, features, opinion articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Type of vessel: Ro-Pax ferry
Classification: ABS
Flag: USA
Owner: Alaska State Government, USA
Operator: Alaska Marine Highway System, USA
Designer: Elliott Bay Design Group, USA
Builder: Vigor Alaska, USA
Length overall: 280 feet (85.3 metres)
Beam: 67 feet (20.4 metres)
Draught: 13.5 feet (4.1 metres)
Deadweight tonnage: 3,000
Capacity: 53 vehicles
Main engines: 2 x 3,000 hp (2,237 kW)
Propulsion: 2 x Kongsberg Maritime propellers
Generators: 3 x Caterpillar C18
Maximum speed: 17.5 knots
Accommodation: 16 x crew cabins; galley; mess
Crew: 14
Passengers: 300
Operational area: Alaska, USA

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