AMHS gets OK to power Matanuska with Rolls Royce

The federal government has granted the Alaska Marine Highway System permission to install a Rolls Royce propeller, shafts and gearing aboard the ferry Matanuska.

Federal permission was needed because the Buy America Act requires federally funded projects to look to American vendors for iron and steel work. In this case, according to a letter submitted to the federal government by AMHS, “there is no domestically manufactured system available in the United States which provides the level of integration that exists in the proposed equipment.”

American companies did bid on the project but didn’t offer what AMHS was seeking, the letter stated.

The federal waiver becomes effective today. The project will cost approximately $2 million, according to the AMHS letter.

The project will replace the Matanuska’s 30-year-old propeller, an action partially inspired when the ship rammed into an Ocean Beauty Seafoods dock in Petersburg in 2012. Subsequent investigation found the Matanuska’s existing propeller needed 50 seconds to respond to throttle commands issued in an attempt to avoid the crash.

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