Friday, March 18, 2022

Former Alaska Ferry Malaspina to become Ketchikan based maritime museum

The MV Malaspina at dock in Prince Rupert in 2018
the vessel would be taken out of service shortly after and now
may find new life as a tourist attraction in Ketchikan

She was once a frequent guest of the Fairview waterfront in Prince Rupert through long service as the main Alaska Marine Highway System connection between the North Coast and Southeast Alaska. 

With the M/V Malaspina making many a journey as the vital connection between communities.

Having gone into longterm layup in 2019 and put up for sale in recent times, the State of Alaska has seemingly found a good fit to provide tribute to the vessels long service to the State, while making for a new tourist attraction along with offering a practical use for the rockbound ship.

This week the Alaska Department of Transportation announced that negotiations are underway to preserve the vessel and showcase the history of the Alaska Marine Highway System.

The state and a domestic buyer known as MV Malaspina LLC working out the details for a project that should make for another key part of the Ketchikan tourism scene. 

MVM and the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) have agreed to negotiate in good faith on the sale of the 59-year-old vessel. MVM's letter of interest outlines a plan to use the Malaspina to showcase Alaska's maritime history and support a Ketchikan-based tourism business. 

Among other uses, they propose keeping the Malaspina in Ketchikan and using the vessel as a maritime museum. 

They also propose to explore opportunities for the ship to serve as a training facility for the University of Alaska's Maritime Training Center in Ketchikan.

The storied history of the Malaspina began in 1963 with the vessel serving a number of routes as part of the AMHS service and as noted in our introduction providing for a number of transits to and from Prince Rupert.

You can review the announcement for the future plans here.

No timeline was provided as to when the vessel would be renovated for its new use as a tourist attraction.

With the Alaska Marine Highway System announcing the return of service to and from Prince Rupert this summer,  once in place in its permanent Ketchikan home, the Malaspina will make for one attraction that visitors from the North Coast may want to take in. 

The opportunity for a short trip north serving as a bit of a reunion for some who may have taken that journey in years past.

More notes on Marine Transportation on the North Coast and Southeast Alaska can be explored through our archive page.

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