Peter Segall | Juneau Empire                                 The Alaska state flag flies on the bow of the MV Matanuska at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal on Feb. 6.

Peter Segall | Juneau Empire The Alaska state flag flies on the bow of the MV Matanuska at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal on Feb. 6.

The Matanuska heads to Ketchikan for repairs

Work is expected to be done in May.

The MV Matanuska left Juneau Friday for the Ketchikan Vigor Shipyard for repairs to its propulsion system, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

The United States Coast Guard approved a sailing plan for Matanuska to travel to Ketchikan on one engine, along with a tug escort provided by Vigor Marine, DOT said in a release.

The Matanuska has been docked in Juneau since Jan. 25 and has undergone an evaluation to determine the cause of the reduction gear failure, DOT said. During this time, crew prepared the ship to safely operate on one engine for the trip to Ketchikan.

Vigor Marine has determined that additional repairs must take place at their Ketchikan shipyard — AMHS is working with Vigor to return Matanuska to service as soon as possible.

AMHS anticipates that Matanuska’s repairs will be completed at some point in May.

AMHS mainline service has been offline for approximately a month due to a combination of unanticipated mechanical issues and overlapping overhaul periods for ships.

On March 5, the MV Tazlina returned to service in the Northern Panhandle. The MV Columbia is expected to return to service April 14, and it will cover most of Matanuska’s scheduled service that month.

The MV Kennicott is expected to resume service April 16, and shortly afterward will head north to provide some added stops in Prince William Sound. The MV Tustumena is expected to resume service May 2 and will restore southwest Alaska’s connection with the Kenai Peninsula.

The community of Kake will receive round-trip charters from Juneau March 21 and 29 to accommodate travelers for the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament, according to DOT.

Additional charter trips are being considered to provide service where necessary.

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