Skip to content
Press Release: 18-1036
Contact: Danielle Doyle, (907) 228-6836,

Public Invited to Join First Lady Donna Walker in Christening
of the First Alaska Class Ferry

click to view larger photo of MV TazlinaM/V Tazlina

(Ketchikan, Alaska) – Vigor Alaska, the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and Alaska Marine Highway System invite the public to celebrate the christening and launching of the M/V Tazlina. The vessel is the first AMHS ferry to carry the Made In Alaska logo.

The celebration of the Tazlina will be held Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Vigor’s Ketchikan shipyard. The ceremony will begin promptly at 1:30pm, with First Lady Donna Walker performing the christening. Dignitaries attending include Governor Bill Walker and Senator Lisa Murkowski. All Alaskans are invited to join in person.

“Christening the M/V Tazlina is an honor for me, and an exciting moment for Alaska. This vessel – and its sister ship – will improve access throughout Lynn Canal for the hundreds of thousands of Alaskans, tourists, and businesses who rely on the Alaska Marine Highway. By building the vessel in Alaska, we also helped launch a thriving maritime industry based on local opportunities and jobs,” said First Lady Donna Walker.

Construction on the Tazlina alone has supported over 100 full-time, year-round positions in Ketchikan over three years with average annual earnings of over $80,000. According to recent economic analysis, the multiplier effects of shipyard operations include significant year-round support for Ketchikan businesses and economy.

“Vigor is honored to partner with the State of Alaska to build these ferries, and it is remarkable to see the first ferry, M/V Tazlina, ready to be christened,” said Frank Foti, Vigor CEO. “Our Ketchikan team deserves real credit for the outstanding quality and scope of work achieved over the last three years. AMHS’ productive and positive collaboration with the Vigor team throughout the project resulted in a great ferry that will well serve the people of Alaska long into the future.”

The Tazlina is slated to enter service in Lynn Canal in May 2019 and is expected to improve ferry service through the area. Compared to the M/V LeConte, one of the vessels serving Lynn Canal, the Alaska Class Ferries are longer, wider, deeper, and heavier and can handle much higher winds and seas.

“The new Alaska Class Ferries will be a valuable transportation asset in Northern Lynn Canal and will help improve ferry system reliability and flexibility," said Captain John Falvey, Alaska Marine Highway System General Manager.

The Tazlina was named by Melea Voran who won an essay contest as a 7th grader in the Port Alsworth Tanalian School.

Governor Bill Walker said, “the M/V Tazlina gets her name from one of Alaska’s first peoples: the Ahtna Athabascans, for whom “tazlina” means swift river. Malea Voran, who suggested the name, wanted this small ferry to be named after something big and inspiring. The Lt. Governor and I felt it was hard to argue against that: we’re already inspired. We’re proud to be watching this new vessel connect Alaskans, carry their belongings, and improve access throughout the Inside Passage. It’s no small job, but she’s up to the task."

For more information about the Tazlina, see

Photos and video are available upon request.

Program for the M/V Tazlina Christening
Saturday, August 11, 2018, 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM at the Ketchikan Shipyard

  • Welcome by Doug Ward, Master Ceremonies (MC)
  • Adam Beck, President, Vigor Ketchikan
  • The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator
  • Marc Luiken, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities
  • The Honorable Bert Stedman, Senator, Alaska State Senate
  • The Honorable Byron Mallott, Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
  • The Honorable Bill Walker, Governor of Alaska
  • First Lady Donna Walker – Christens M/V Tazlina
  • Convocation – Father Patrick Travers, Holy Name Parish
  • Commence Tours of Tazlina


The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 9 ferries serving 35 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.”

# # #

Main Newsroom Page