The FVF Fairweather pulls up to the Auke Bay Terminal in June 2014. The fast ferry, along with the FVF Chenega, were sold to a Spanish firm. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

The FVF Fairweather pulls up to the Auke Bay Terminal in June 2014. The fast ferry, along with the FVF Chenega, were sold to a Spanish firm. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

State’s fast ferries sold for over $5M

They’ll be headed to Spain soon.

The state’s transportation department finalized the sale of two fast ferries on Wednesday.

The Alaska Marine Highway System vessels Fairweather and Chenega were sold for a combined $5.17 million to Servicios y Concesiones Maritimas Ibicencas S.A. of Ibiza, Spain, according to Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The Chenega sold for $3.11 million and the Fairweather for $2.06 million.

The Fairweather was built by Derecktor Shipyards of Bridgeport, Connecticut, at a cost of $36 million, according to the department of transportation’s website. It began service in 2004. The Chenega began service in 2006, and like the Fairweather it was built by Derecktor Shipyards for $36 million, according to the department’s website.

“This sale is a significant milestone in our long-term vision to reshape the Alaska Marine Highway System,” said Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner John MacKinnon in a news release. “Selling the fast ferries is a move to right-size the fleet and lets AMHS redirect funds used for their storage to operations. This moves us toward our goal of a more sustainable and affordable level of service for Alaskans.”

AMHS will transfer the proceeds from the sales into its Vessel Construction Fund, an account used for future AMHS vessel maintenance and construction, according to the department.

In 2019, the department announced it would surplus the fast ferries because of high operating costs.

They were first offered to other state agencies or Alaska municipalities for transportation purposes, according to the department. After receiving no interest, the vessels were listed for sale, and bids were opened in January 2021.

Servicios y Concesiones Maritimas Ibicencas S.A. was the lone bidder, according to the department. The buyer has enlisted a heavy-lift ship to pick up the two ferries in Ketchikan and transport both vessels via the Panama Canal to their new homeport in Spain.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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