Resuming regular state ferry service to Rupert a priority

 

October 18, 2023 | View PDF



On Friday, Sept. 15, I and other stakeholders and community leaders participated in a ferry system focus group workshop for the southern Southeast service area. As state ferry service is one of the very essential elements of Southeast culture and lifestyle, sustainability of this important resource is a priority for me and the constituents of our legislative district.

The first meetings of the group began last May. At that time, the Alaska Marine Highway System was soliciting feedback from stakeholders on the service schedule. The most recent meeting included a brief overview of the AMHS long-range plan and discussions on potential schedules, levels of service and related community needs.

Leaders from the region expressed their concerns over the loss of service and basic needs formerly provided and vital to Southeast communities. In addition, participants offered ideas on new locations, school event-friendly schedules, smaller-vessel options and community-specific issues. Conversations were also had around staff shortages and boat/maintenance issues related to the system’s ability to return to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, on a regularly sustained schedule.

To summarize the current roadblocks, AMHS management states that their inability to hire and retain trained navigational personnel has prevented them from crewing both ferries, the Columbia and the Kennicott, simultaneously. Therefore, sustained Prince Rupert runs are currently not possible.

Rest assured I will continue to follow this issue closely. Seeing the AMHS resume regularly scheduled service to Prince Rupert has been and will continue to be a top priority of mine as District 1 state representative.

Rep. Dan Ortiz

Ketchikan

 

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