Tuesday, June 21, 2022

State of Alaska celebrates return of service for AMHS to Prince Rupert

Back in Business at Fairview Bay!
The State of Alaska has hailed the return of AMHS Ferry
service between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan

The numbers are in: 83 passengers and 39 passengers arrived at the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal in Prince Rupert aboard the MV Matanuska on Monday night, the 11:15PM docking marking the first journey for the Alaska Ferry service since the fall of 2019.

The return trip to Ketchikan saw 107 passengers and 55 vehicles embark for Alaska from Fairview Bay in the early hours of Tuesday morning

The stats package coming from the State of Alaska which has hailed the return of the service today in an information update.

"I'm pleased to announce that, through our department's efforts, and our partnerships with the Canadian government, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, we are sailing to Prince Rupert again. Prince Rupert is a valuable mainland link for Alaska, and we intend to keep it open for travelers in the years to come." -- Commissioner Ryan Anderson, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF). 

We made note of the much anticipated return yesterday with a look at the transit planned for the MV Matanuska as part of the resumption of service. The return bringing some additional visitors to the community in anticipation of the sailing north.

The information update from the State today also charts some of the history of the suspension of the service and measures now in place that brought about its return, as well as glimpse towards future plans.

A 2019 Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport (LRMA) agreement, between the U.S. and Canada requires that the Prince Rupert terminal become a preclearance facility, making it the first marine preclearance port in the nation. 

The new designation allows for ease in travel and trade between both the U.S. and Canada, which share one of the longest borders in the world. 

Some changes to the facility were needed, however, including high speed data into the terminal, the installation of a U.S. government approved weapon and document safe, and the installation of a security system for the terminal building. 

Further upgrades to the terminal building and grounds will be required over the next two years.

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy noted of the importance of Prince Rupert when it comes to moving Alaskans to and from the Lower 48 states.

“Prince Rupert is an important connection for commerce and passenger traffic in the Alaska Marine Highway System, especially for southern Southeast Alaska. There are significant cultural and family ties that will benefit from this service. I anticipate increased service in the future now that federal requirements in both Canada and the United States have been met.”

Rob Carpenter, the Deputy Commissioner for Alaska's Department of Transportation and Public Facilities paid his tributes to those who worked behind the scenes to bring about the return of the link between the two nations and neighbours.

“A sincere thanks to Transport Canada. Canada Border Services. Canada Global Affairs and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for their hard work and dedication to making this the first marine pre-clearance facility in North America,”

For the moment, the level of service will see things ease back into a routine with only a pair of sailings each month through to September, with hopes to add to the regular schedule in 2023 and beyond.

More notes of interest on Marine Transportation on the North Coast is available through our archive page.

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