Ferry retiring to Ketchikan

Malaspina to be sold to LLC; planned to be centerpiece of a historic park.

This 2018 photo shows the M/V Malaspina 2018. (Courtesy Photo / Frank P. Flavin)

This 2018 photo shows the M/V Malaspina 2018. (Courtesy Photo / Frank P. Flavin)

The M/V Malaspina will stay in Southeast Alaska as part of an agreement between a the state transportation department and a Ketchikan-based limited liability company, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced.

The 59-year-old ferry is being sold as-is for $128,250 to the M/V Malaspina LLC, according to the transportation department. The company plans to keep the vessel in Ward Cove. It will be used in a historic restoration effort to showcase Ketchikan’s logging and maritime history, said John Binkley, president of M/V Malaspina LLC, in a news release announcing the development.

“The AMHS has a proud and significant history, we want to preserve and highlight that for both visitors and Alaskans alike,” Binkley said in the release. “The men and women of the AMHS work hard every day to serve our state’s transportation system, we hope the Malaspina will be a touchstone for them to know how important what they do is and how much they are appreciated.”

The Malaspina was moored in 2019 because of the cost of repairs and age of the ship, according to the transportation department. According to the transportation department, several proposals were pursued prior to the agreement with M/V Malaspina LLC. According to the transportation department, the state will save over $425,000 annually in fees and expenses by selling the ship, and selling an older ship typically does not result in “significant monetary compensation.”

“This is the fifth ship that AMHS has sold over the last 20 years said AMHS general manager Capt. John Falvey, in a news release. “And we’ve learned a thing or two about how to dispose of a ship that has sailed its twilight cruise. As the former Queen of the Fleet, and first mainline vessel built, we didn’t want just any future for the Malaspina, and we certainly did not want her sold for scrap metal. This gives her a retirement we can be proud of.”

Contact the Juneau Empire newsroom at (907)308-4895.

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