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
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.