After Years of Delay, Alaskan Ferry Hubbard Finally Christened
Hubbard, a new ferry built in 2019 for Alaska's Marine Highway System (AMHS), was formally christened this week after a change of plans put the vessel's entry into service on hold.
The vessel is the second of two Alaska class ferries designed by Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group and constructed at Vigor Shipyard in Ketchikan, Alaska. Construction of both vessels began in October 2014. The series' first ferry, Tazlina, was christened in 2018, and Hubbard was completed in 2019.
Intended to operate as day boats to serve the AMHS Lynn Canal route between Juneau, Haines and Skagway, the 280-foot vessels are classed ABS Ro/Ro and carry 300 passengers and 53 vehicles via both a bow and stern door. But by the time the ferries were delivered, AMHS had decided it wanted to use the vessels to service longer routes, meaning crew quarters had to be added in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations.
Hubbard recently underwent a $15 million project adding crew quarters to the vessel at Vigor Shipyard in Ketchikan. The project included the addition of eight single-person staterooms on the Bridge Deck and eight two-person staterooms on the Upper Deck. Furthermore, upgrades include the installation of a galley, scullery, and mess spaces on the Upper Deck, a new fan room on the Bridge Deck, and the extension of the existing port stair tower to the Bridge Deck.
“Adding crew quarters to the Hubbard gives us flexibility in the AMHS fleet, allowing the ship to sail to more ports when needed,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Revitalizing the fleet is important to the long term health of the Marine Highway, and the communities it serves. I pleased we’ve taken another step toward that.”
AMHS announced in May this year that the U.S. Coast Guard has granted the Hubbard its Certificate of Inspection (COI), clearing the ferry to commence revenue service, beginning its first operational year since it was delivered in 2019.
Earlier this week, Alaska's First Lady Rose Dunleavy smashed a ceremonial bottle of champagne on the bow of the MV Hubbard, christening the ship as it enters its first season in service.
During her remarks, First Lady Dunleavy noted the important role women have played in the history of the Marine Highway. "I am honored to be part of AMHS history," said First Lady Dunleavy. "Women have made a tremendous contribution to transportation in Alaska, and today I want to recognize their contributions to the Marine Highway. Today, they are masters and mates, ship side and shore side, helping this great state getting to where they need to go."
First Lady recognized several AMHS women for their outstanding contribution to the Marine Highway, including Port Captains Mara Cowen and Umeko Seaver, Vessel Scheduler Kerri Traudt, AMHS Admin Mngr. Barb Henry, and Passenger Services Specialist May Flood.
The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities continues its work to revitalize the Alaska Marine Highway by investing in vessels and shoreside infrastructure, addressing recruitment and retention issues, and strengthening communications with marine highway communities.