LeConte To Continue Operating Until May

Thursday, March 30, 2006
The M/V LeConte will continue to operate on its current schedule serving northern Panhandle communities until at least May 4, when a U.S. Coast Guard directive on work rest rules will require it to change its operations. The Coast Guard has again extended the deadline.

The Coast Guard originally issued its “835” directive to the LeConte on March 13, giving the Alaska Marine Highway System until the end of the month to comply. That deadline was later extended until April 4 for the Gold Medal basketball tournament.

In the meantime, the state is negotiating with the three maritime unions to seek changes that would comply with the “835” directive, as the AMHS understands the importance of continued service to the small communities on the LeConte’s current route.

“We are working with the U.S. Coast Guard and our unions to provide for the needs of our customers in a safe and cost effective manner,” said AMHS General Manager Capt. John Falvey. “We hope that any solution will be satisfactory to both the Coast Guard and the ports now served by the LeConte.”

The “835” directive requires AMHS to provide for significant rest periods for LeConte crewmembers. Under the most recent extended deadline, the AMHS has until May 5 to submit a plan to the Coast Guard on how it will comply with staffing restrictions.

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