Rising repair costs force Alaska ferry operator to pull half of fleet from service

Aurora (Photo: AMHS)

The Alaska Marine Highway System’s (AMHS) day ferry Aurora (pictured) is presently being prepared for lay-up, the state-run operator confirmed earlier this month.

In November, after thorough inspections of the 45-year-old LeConte and the 43-year-old Aurora, AMHS decided to move forward with repairs for LeConte. It was determined that significantly more repair work was required than originally budgeted, hence a shortfall in the funds necessary for the repair of both vessels.

LeConte is expected to return to service on May 15, 2020, after steel repairs are completed.

Aurora is currently at Ward Cove in Ketchikan being prepared for lay-up, which is scheduled to commence early next year.

AMHS has so far pulled six of its 11 ferries out of service after maintenance of the vessels was deemed impractical due to rising costs.

On the 1963-built Malaspina alone, the repairs were estimated to cost US$16 million.

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