A docking mishap in Ketchikan damages 2 state ferries

A large blue boat as seen from a dock toweards the bow
The 280-foot Hubbard tied up in Ketchikan on January 29, 2021. The Hubbard is slated for a $20 million modification to add crew quarters, which will increase its range. (Eric Stone/KRBD)

One Alaska state ferry collided with another while docking in Ketchikan last Friday, causing some damage but no reported injuries. The collision happened around 4:25 a.m.

That’s according to a statement from the Department of Transportation, which reported that the 382-foot Kennicott ferry hit the smaller Hubbard. The Kennicott has just finished up service in Southeast and is heading in for a scheduled overhaul.

The 280-foot Hubbard is an Alaska Class ferry that’s in Ketchikan for a $15 million upgrade. The work by Vigor Alaska would add crew quarters to extend the ship’s operational range and versatility before it enters service later this year.

The Kennicott fared worse than the Hubbard in the collision, with damage to its starboard side and to one window. Damage to the Hubbard was described as “minimal” by the state transportation department.

“AMHS does not anticipate the damage from today’s incident will impact project timelines or return to service dates for either vessel,” the agency said in a statement.

RELATED: State says it’s prepping Tazlina, hiring catamarans to bolster Southeast Alaska’s winter ferry schedule

Earlier in the day, the department had announced that Vigor Alaska signed a contract for upgrading the Hubbard. The agency also said it had awarded a $9.4 million contract to JAG at the Seward shipyard on Dec. 28 for improvements to the ferry Tustumena, the second oldest vessel in the fleet.

“This work will contribute toward extending the ship’s service life until the Tustumena Replacement Vessel (TRV) can be put into service in approximately five to six years,” the agency said.

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