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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2022
Press Release: 22-0004
Contact: Sam Dapcevich, sam.dapcevich@alaska.gov, 907-465-4503

AMHS M/V Tustumena Return-To-Service Now Expected July 15
M/V Kennicott will replace most sailings for passengers

(SEWARD, Alaska) – The M/V Tustumena will return to service on July 15, 2022, staying in the shipyard an additional 15 days. The M/V Kennicott will cover the majority of sailings on which passengers have reservations. AMHS reservation staff is reaching out to all ticketed passengers to reschedule their voyages.

The Tustumena is undergoing an extensive upgrade at the JAG shipyard in Seward, Alaska. Work includes upgrades and replacements to passenger and vehicle elevators, steelwork, superstructure coating, bridge deck upgrades, and interior engineering systems upgrades. The $9.4 million refurbishment was awarded to the Seward shipyard on Dec. 28, 2021.

The delay in the ship’s return to service is due to the extent of the repairs, supply chain issues, and vendor delays. The department expected the Tustumena to enter the shipyard earlier, but shifted the schedule back after an initial unsuccessful construction bid opening. The shift allowed the Tustumena to add 20 days of service in late November and early December.

The Tustumena was built in 1964 and is one of two certified ocean class ferries in the AMHS system. It is the only vessel capable of serving all 13 ports of call between Homer and Unalaska. The 58-year-old ship has become more expensive to maintain and operate and will be replaced with a Construction Manager/General Contractor, or CMGC, project, a development and procurement method used to accelerate project delivery and address both design and construction challenges upfront. Until the replacement vessel is brought into service, in approximately six years, the Tustumena will continue to serve all 13 ports of call between Homer and Unalaska.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 9 ferries serving 33 communities along 3,500 marine miles, over 5,600 miles of highway and 839 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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