The LeConte docking in Haines earlier this winter. (Berett Wilber)

On Thursday, the Alaska Marine Highway System removed most of its previously scheduled sailings to and from the Upper Lynn Canal until spring. The M/V Leconte was expected to provide most of the winter ferry service to the Upper Lynn Canal this year. The ship is currently out of service for repairs.

According to a press release from the Department of Transportation, starting October 31st, there will be one ferry a week to Haines and Skagway.  There will be no AMHS service to Angoon, Tenakee, Pelican and Gustavus. 

On Wednesday, CoastAlaska’s Jacob Resneck reported that the LeConte is in need of more repairs than originally budgeted. The Department of Transportation says it budgeted $1.2 million for the LeConte’s overhaul. Now DOT estimates that $4 million worth of work is needed. State officials have delayed work on the LeConte until further notice.

The M/V Aurora, another ferry that services small coastal communities in Southeast, is also being overhauled this winter.

AMHS does not have the budget to repair both the LeConte and the 44-year-old Aurora. DOT officials say the plan is to bring both into dry dock for a side-by-side comparison next week to see which needs less work. Repair estimates for the Aurora should be available by Nov. 15, which will give a better estimate for future service.