Seven communities in Southeast Alaska had their ferry service slashed earlier this month. Today the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) restored service to some of the affected communities. The ferry Tazlina will be brought back online to make up for previously cancelled sailings.
Earlier this month AMHS pulled two ferries, the Aurora and the Leconte, out of service. Both ships need extensive repairs. This severely reduced winter ferry trips to Haines, Skagway and Hoonah. The communities of Tenakee, Pelican, Gustavus and Angoon lost winter ferry service altogether.
According to AMHS spokesperson Sam Dapcevitch, the Department of Transportation has been looking for ways to increase service to the affected communities since then.
“Alaska Marine Highway System decided to explore other alternatives and I know there was quite a bit of discussion and collaboration with the unions so we could come up with a way to make it happen.”
The Tazlina was scheduled to have new side doors installed this winter, but the contract for that work was not finalized. Instead the ship will provide service between Juneau and the communities of Haines, Skagway, Hoonah and Gustavus. The first sailing is scheduled for November 21.
Dapcevich says AMHS hopes the ship can sail to Angoon, but it is unclear if that will be possible.
“We’re working on resolving an issue with the dock in Angoon if we can get that issue resolved then we will also service Angoon.”
The Tazlina is not compatible with the ferry docks in Tenakee and Pelican. AMHS does not plan to provide any ferry service to those communities this winter.
The winter sailing schedule for the Tazlina is available online at ferryalaska.com.