By Dave Kiffer
Ketchikan Daily News 

Malaspina leaves behind a lot of stories in the wake of its retirement


Taylor Balkom/Ketchikan Daily News

A floatplane takes off from the Tongass Narrows as the Alaska Marine Highway System vessel Malaspina heads south to Bellingham, Washington, on May 18, 2016. The state ferry has been sold and will remain in Ketchikan, serving as a museum and maritime industry classroom.

The recent news that the longtime Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Malaspina will be officially retired and will remain in Ketchikan's Ward Cove as a privately owned and operated museum and a training vessel is good news to its fans who had feared that the "Mal" would suffer the same fate as its sistership, the Taku, which was sold in 2018 and scrapped in India.

The Malaspina, along with the Taku and the Matanuska, were the first mainline ferries in the fleet, all going online in 1963. They were expected to have a life span of some 30 years, but all ended up serving well over 50 years. Th...

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