M/V Columbia, reported to be the largest ship in the Alaska Marine Highway
’s fleet, returned to revenue service on June 5 with its scheduled sailing southbound from Ketchikan. The Columbia begins weekly round trip service between Bellingham, Wash. and Skagway, Alaska, with intermediate stops in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersberg, Juneau, Haines and Skagway with additional southbound stops in Sitka.
Columbia left Cascade General Inc.
, (CGI) shipyard in Portland, Ore., on May 30 on schedule and within budget, after a major improvement project. In recognition of CGI’s efforts, the AMHS Vessel operations manager, Captain Jack Meyers, presented Bruce Dummer, senior V.P. of Finance, with an oversized replica of a $14,000 incentive check in a ceremony at the yard just prior to the ship’s departure. The check represents the monies earned by CGI for the early completion of a significant project milestone.
The five million dollar, federally funded Food Service and Ship Systems Improvement modernization project began in early November. During this six-month shipyard upgrade, the Columbia’s entire food service spaces, including galley, cafeteria and dining rooms, were stripped out to bare metal and replaced. Additional significant improvements included installation of a modern linen loading and handling system, a consolidated refrigeration system, and the replacement of all windows in the solarium. The vessel was also drydocked for routine underwater machinery and hull valve maintenance.