Marine Highway System announced yesterday that the ferry Tustumena needs two
more months of work before it can return to service. That means instead of
resuming its Kodiak to Homer runs in two months, it will be delayed until June.
result, the ferry Kennicott will be pressed into service to handle runs from
Kodiak to Dutch Harbor in April in May.
not all the Alaska Peninsula communities
usually served by the Tustumena will be called upon by the Kennicott, due to
its much larger size. Old Harbor, Chignik, False Pass
and Akutan will not have ferry service those two months, as their docks cannot
accommodate the 382-foot Kennicott.
chief Captain Joh Falvey said the Tustumena, at 296-feet, is unique among the
state's ferries, as it can handle the open ocean, but still serve the smaller
communities, which also include Port Lions, Ouzinkie and Seldovia.
Tustumena is currently laid up undergoing regular “Federal Capital Improvement”
this winter. During that maintenance, additional repairs were discovered that
needed attention, and the Tusty is not expected to return to service until
upside for the Kodiak community is that the Kennicott will be serving Kodiak at
the end of May, during Crab Fest, something the Chamber of Commerce has long
wished for. Larger carnival rides and more passengers can attend the Memorial
Day Weekend fair aboard the Kennicott than on the Tustumena. Chamber Executive
Director Trevor Brown said in an e-mail that he appreciates the Marine Highway
System making the Kennicott available for the event, and urges the state to
make replacing the 50-year-old Tustumena a top priority.
system will publish an updated schedule for the Kennicott in the next week, and
is contacting any passengers that had reservations to or from the chain on the