M/V Chenega Sets Sails

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The state’s second fast vehicle ferry, M/V Chenega, sailed from Auke Bay yesterday, en route to Prince William Sound, where it will serve the communities of Cordova, Valdez, and Whittier. The ferry is expected to enter revenue service on about August 26, following nearly a month of crew and route training.

“We are very pleased to finally have the Chenega under way,” said Captain John Falvey, General Manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System. “Labor issues have put it about two months behind schedule in going to Prince William Sound, but we now have the vessel on its way to Cordova, so we are looking forward to its arrival there.”

“She has a crew of 14 on board, led by Captain Pete McMahon,” Falvey said. “After their arrival in Cordova, the crew will undergo 96 hours of training for the vessel, which should wrap-up by August 12. After that, the Chenega will have to make 12 non-revenue round-trips to each of the ports she will serve in Prince William Sound. We are targeting August 26 to have that completed, at which time we will welcome aboard our first passengers.”

Falvey said that, while the period during which the Chenega will actually be able to carry passengers in PWS will be relatively short before the vessel returns to Southeast in mid-September, the major benefit is in getting the training taken care of this summer. “When she returns to Cordova in May next year, we will not have to delay for route training at that time, and should be able to start carrying passengers right away,” he said.

The Chenega is an aluminum, catamaran hull vessel designed to carry 250 passengers and 35 average sized vehicles. It is 235 feet long, with a 60 ft. beam and an 8 ft. draft. It is powered by 4 MTU diesel engines, driving four Kamewa waterjets. Its service speed is 32 knots, with a top speed of 42 knots. It was constructed by Derektor Shipyards of Bridgeport, Connecticut at a cost of $38 million.

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