Alaska Marine Highway won’t expand ferry service until COVID-19 travel restrictions are eased

The M/V LeConte ferry docks in Haines in 2018. (Photo by Berett Wilber/KHNS)

The state won’t be bringing more vessels into service until COVID-19 travel restrictions are relaxed and demand for passenger service increases.

“The Alaska Marine Highway System is developing a reduced service operating plan for spring and early summer to provide an appropriate level of service based on passenger demand, crew availability, and state and federal guidelines for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the state-run ferry service said in a Thursday statement.

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Currently running are just two dayboats: one linking Southeast communities around Upper Lynn Canal and a shuttle between Ketchikan and Metlakatla.

The delay in activating longer-range vessels with staterooms means the sea link between Alaska and Bellingham, Washington will remain severed. There will also be no Prince William Sound service between Valdez and Cordova. Sailings to Pelican and Tenakee Springs in May have also been canceled.

Read our collected coverage of ferry service reductions.

Jacob Resneck is CoastAlaska's regional news director in Juneau.

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