Alaskan Ferry Sustains Damage

Tuesday, December 21, 2004
The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) is cooperating with U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Juneau to investigate and evaluate structural damage sustained to the ferry Fairweather Thursday (December 16) in Southeast Alaska waters.

Fairweather sustained damage by waves during a regularly scheduled voyage from Haines to Juneau late Thursday afternoon.

The vessel carried 101 passengers at the time, including the commanding officer of Marine Safety Office Juneau. At no time during the voyage were the passengers in any danger. Crewmembers discovered the damage after the Fairweather safely docked in Juneau upon completion of the voyage. Damage appears confined to a void space located at the forward part of the vessel between the two catamaran hulls. Several of the internal structural frames also suffered damage along with an 18-inch tear in the vessel's hull plating. All damage is about 14 feet above the waterline.

Coast Guard marine inspectors examined the damage and are prohibiting the ship from carrying passengers or vehicles until satisfactory repairs are completed.

A Coast Guard investigation is underway to determine the cause of the casualty. The vessel's master reduced speed during the voyage and crewmembers took steps to ensure the safety of the passengers.

The Coast Guard will remain engaged throughout the repair process and will review and approve all repair proposals. One of Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Juneau's many missions is to inspect commercial vessel's plying U.S. waters to ensure they are safely maintained to prevent vessel casualties.

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