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New Alaska Ferries Need Additional US$30 Million in Public Money

By ,   December 29, 2018 ,   Cruise Industry

An additional USD 30 million in public money is needed to install crew quarters on the two new ferries of Alaska, Alaska Marine Highway System announced.

The new crew quarters will allow the Hubbard and Tazlina ferries to be used on longer than originally planned routes. The newbuilds were designed for specific roles. However, cuts to ferry service means the vessels will have to enter general service. With the budget constraints of the state, two older ferry ships will likely be taken offline as the pair of newbuilds begin operations, leaving a hole in the routes of the system.

USCG regulations limit crews to 12-hour work days. A roundtrip out of Juneau to Skagway and Haines would likely take one of the new vessels 14 hours, according to the projections.

Port of Juneau (Alaska)

In addition to the crew quarters' cost, tens of millions of dollars will be needed to build support facilities for the ships, the advisory board revealed.

New facilities to accommodate the vessels will be needed in Cordova, Chenega Bay, Pelican, Talitlek, and Whittier, according to board documents. The cost for the five is estimated to be US$25 million, according to Capt.John Falvey, system's general manager.

Money to install the new crew quarters would come from Marine Highway System fund, Marquardt said and the work could start in the summer in case the state Legislature authorizes the expense.