Thursday, May 26, 2016

Alaska Marine Highway heads towards Public Review for 2016-17 Winter Ferry Schedule

The MV Matanuska which
services the Prince Rupert - Ketchikan
AMHS run will be out of service
for a month this winter, as part of
a scheduled overhaul period
The first look at the Draft of a proposed Winter Ferry Schedule for the Alaska Marine Highway System is now available for review for communities and individuals with an interest in AMHS developments, offering host municipalities and users of the transportation system a glimpse at some of the proposed changes ahead for the service.

The recently released document notes the proposed schedule patterns that will cover the fall/winter/spring sailing seasons from October 2016 to April 2017.

The Draft Schedule notes that service reductions will be the orders of the season across the many ports of call for the AMHS, as the Alaska Government continues to face financial concerns when it comes to state spending.

Of the 11 ferries that make up the AMHS fleet, five will be tied up for the majority of the time from Mid October through to April 2017. The Southeast area of Alaska will also be without the services of the MV Taku which the State is currently attempting to sell.

Of note for Prince Rupert is the status of the MV Matanuska which services the Ketchikan connection to the North Coast.

If the Draft schedule is approved, the Matanuska will be entering an overhaul period from mid-November to mid-December, which will mean that there will be No Sailings for the AMHS between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan during that period of time.

Alaska Passengers will still be able to access service to and from Ketchikan, through once a week sailing of the Malaspina from Skagway to Ketchikan and on through to Bellingham in Washington State.

It's anticipated that the Matanuska will return to service to Prince Rupert by mid month in December, at that time the once a week sailings will resume on the route.

Prince Rupert will see one sailing a week for most of the
fall/winter/sprig sailing seasons for the AMHS in
the proposed 2016-17 sailing planning

Mid November to December will see a suspension of
AMHS service to Prince Rupert, while the
Matanuska receives an overhaul in Alaska

AMHS officials and the State of Alaska note that at this time there is no plan to make changes to the summer schedules, which should be of some relief for tourism operators in the Prince Rupert region and across the Highway 16 corridor.

The Notice of review and schedule templates can be reviewed here.

Written comments related to the proposed draft schedule can be directed to the AMSH at: or by fax at 907-228-6874. The deadline for contributions is June 21st.

Ketchikan officials and residents will have their opportunity to comment through a teleconference on June 22nd to be held at the AMHS Office in the Southeast Alaska community.

Ketchikan's Public Radio Station KRBD outlined some of the challenges currently facing the Alaska Marine Highway System with this report from Monday, highlighting the 7 percent reduction in sailings state wide as part of the fiscal strategy.

For more items related to the Ferry Transportation on the North Coast see our archive page here.

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