Facing a $16M repair bill, state to pull Malaspina ferry out of service

Passengers board the ferry Malaspina while vehicles wait to load at the Auke Bay terminal in Juneau. Travelers will no longer be able to take advantage of some discounts, due to budget cuts. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News)
Passengers board the ferry Malaspina in Sept. 2012 while vehicles wait to load at the Auke Bay terminal in Juneau. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News)

The ferry Malaspina is being pulled out of service in December and it’s not clear when it will return. 

The 56-year-old Alaska Marine Highway System vessel will be stored in Ketchikan this January, according to the Department of Transportation.

Meadow Bailey, a DOT spokesperson, emailed on Thursday saying that an inspection of the ferry showed it needs about $16 million worth of repairs. 

Bailey says there isn’t enough money in the ferry system’s budget to cover those costs. 

She says there won’t be any impact to the current sailing schedule and they haven’t made any long term decisions about the future of the vessel.  


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Rashah McChesney is a photojournalist turned radio journalist who has been telling stories in Alaska since 2012. Before joining Alaska's Energy Desk , she worked at Kenai's Peninsula Clarion and the Juneau bureau of the Associated Press. She is a graduate of Iowa State University's Greenlee Journalism School and has worked in public television, newspapers and now radio, all in the quest to become the Swiss Army knife of storytellers.