The Alaska Marine Highway System has confirmed that the Ro-Pax Columbia will be taken out of service from September 4 up to the end of winter as a cost-saving measure under an ongoing financial restructuring programme.
Alaska Marine Highway spokesperson Aurah Landau told local reporters that the Ro-Pax has a higher operating cost compared to smaller vessels in the operator's fleet that could serve the same Lynn Canal and Inside Passage routes.
The plan to substitute other vessels for Columbia could result in monthly savings of around US$400,000, Ms Landau added.
At 127 metres long, Columbia is the marine highway system's largest vessel. It is also one of the oldest in the fleet, having been completed and delivered in 1974.
Under the same restructuring programme, Alaska Marine Highway had already sold one vessel for scrapping and is currently negotiating for the sale of two more.
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