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M/V Tustumena won’t sail Aleutian chain until July

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Hope McKenny
/
KUCB
The 58-year-old ship is undergoing repairs, and was originally expected to return to service in time for the May sailing across the chain. But supply chain issues, and the extent of the repairs has led the department to postpone the ferry’s first sailing.

That’s according to a press release from the Department of Transportation. They said Wednesday the ferry will remain in the shipyard for longer than expected.

The 58-year-old ship is undergoing repairs, and was originally expected to return to service in time for the May sailing across the chain.

But supply chain issues, and the extent of the repairs has led the department to postpone the ferry’s first sailing.

The M/V Kennicott will replace the Tustumena on some of its summer sailings, but the Aleutians are going to take a big hit.

Passengers on the May ferry can still ride, but the replacement ship is too large to dock at Akutan and False Pass. That means there will be no ferry service to those communities until the Tustumena is repaired in July.

The June sailing has been cancelled altogether.

The Alaska Marine Highway System has the Tustumena scheduled to leave Homer on July 19 to begin its journey through the Aleutians, but an AMHS spokesperson said there’s a possibility that sailing would be postponed, too, or even cancelled, due to how close it is to the Tustumena’s projected completion date.

The Tustumena is expected to be replaced by a new ship in 2027, a $200 million project that Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced in Dec.

AMHS representatives are in the process of contacting everyone who’s booked on the affected ferries, and making accommodations to the altered schedule.

For more information, and to see the updated schedule, visit the Alaska Marine Highway System's website.

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