The Alaska Marine Highway System announced today that the M/V LeConte, currently undergoing repair work to its propulsion shafts in Seattle, is expected to return to its regular route in early January. The vessel will add a January 6 stop at Pelican to its schedule. “We are pleased by the pace of work being accomplished on the propulsion shafts in Seattle,” said Captain John Falvey, AMHS General Manager. “Essentially, the problem has been with the fittings for the couplings on the shafts being worn. Todd Shipyard workers have been able to refurbish those couplings and we expect the work to be finished around the 26th , with the vessel sailing for Bellingham on the 27th . After final work and Coast Guard certification, provisioning and refueling will take place, and she will sail from Bellingham by the morning of the 30th .” Falvey said the LeConte would resume its schedule upon its return to Southeast Alaska, but exactly where in its route it would pick up the schedule would depend on when it gets here. He said AMHS has added a stop in Pelican on January 6. “We had contracted for replacement service to Pelican with the Lite Weight, a privately-operated landing craft, for Tuesday, December 20,” Falvey said. “Unfortunately, stormy weather prevented that sailing. So, Pelican will be more than ready for the LeConte to return to their community.” Normally, the LeConte would have visited Pelican twice in December, but the community has been without service since December 2, shortly before the LeConte’s shaft problem became apparent.