Someone may want to buy the ferry Taku, but they need more time

The ferry Taku sails into the Wrangell Narrows on its way south in 2014. It’s since been pulled out of service and is being stored until it can be sold. (Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News – Juneau)

Update, July 12, 2017, 10:30 a.m.: Alaska Marine Highway officials are extending the final bid deadline for the ferry Taku another three weeks.

Spokeswoman Meadow Bailey says it’s because an interested buyer wants to tour the 54-year-old ship.

Bids were originally due by July 7. Officials pushed that back a week and a half on Monday. Now, bids aren’t due until Aug. 8.


Someone is interested in buying the retired ferry Taku.

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As a result, the Alaska Marine Highway System is giving interested parties an extra week and a half to submit bids.

The 54-year-old ship has been out of service for two years. It’s been put out to bid twice before, first at $1.5 million, then at $700,000.

But no offers were made.

The latest attempt, advertised June 19, listed no minimum price. Bids were scheduled to be opened July 7. That deadline was then extended until July 18.

Ferry spokeswoman Meadow Bailey said the new deadline came at the request of an interested party.

“Obviously, there is not a huge rush on this,” Bailey said. “We have been working with the Taku for several months now. So we were happy to fulfill that request.”

Bailey said the marine highway is not identifying the interested party or parties.

The Taku was tied up in 2015 to save money.

It worked, but needed minor repairs and certifications required for all passenger ships.

It’s been moored at Ketchikan’s Ward Cove since then.

The Taku sailed mostly Southeast routes. It’s about 350 feet long. It can carry up to 50 vehicles and 350 passengers. It has 40 staterooms, a cafeteria, observation lounges and a covered solarium.

If it can’t be sold, it could be scrapped.

Editor’s note: This report was updated with information about a second extension of the bid deadline. 

Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell.

He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues.

He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.

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