MV Susitna. Photo via Guido Perla & Associates

Update II: October 17, 2013 – The Mat-Su Borough is still the owner of the M/V Susitna. This week, the Anchorage Daily News reported that the Borough had rejected a two million dollar offer from a shipping firm in Abu Dhabi to buy the ship. So for now the Susitna has been put into “wet lay-up” for the winter in Ward Cove. Update.

Update I: February 1, 2013 – The ship is now being offered for free to any government entity which will take it, or for dirt cheap to the commercial sector.

September 25, 2012 – “The world’s only planing, beaching, swath hulled ferry built at a hideously great expense ($80M+?) to the US Navy for a route to nowhere and a service that nobody wants”, is up for sale. At least that’s how “c.captain”, aka the U.S.-flag’s toughest supporter, describes it.

The vessel, named the MV Susitna, was constructed in 2010 at former Alaska Ship & Drydock in Ketchikan (now Vigor) at the request of the Office of Naval Research who was looking to test new designs that may someday work as military vessels.  When construction began, the Susitna was to be owned and operated as a ferry in Alaska for the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough providing service between Anchorage and Port Mackenzie while being assessed by the ONR. The only problem, however, was that there were no ferry terminals and the vessel never entered service. So now it’s up for sale!

The MV Susitna is unique in a number of ways and actually quite interesting. In the end it just didn’t work.

The design for the “expeditionary craft” was created by Guido Perla & Associates, Inc (GPA) and is based on a concept created by Lockheed Martin. It is a ABS-certified “E-Craft” that measures 59 meters in length and is capable of carrying 129 passengers, plus 20 vehicles or one tractor-trailer rig.  The vessel also incorporates lift technology that will allow the ferry to change from the Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull (SWATH) mode to barge mode by lowering or raising its center deck.  The vessel also built with an ice strengthened hull (the first-ever for a SWATH hull) and is beachable.

But what possibly could the Susitna be used for? We’re not sure, but someone mentioned that Shell fits the buyers profile.  Who knows though, the E-Craft could be yours for an unspecified price.

More MV Susitna Photos


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  • Louis Vest

    Why was no ferry terminals a problem? Looks like it didn’t need anything but a beach.

  • Geoff Wilkie

    The intended ferry route has a very high tidal range, so the barge mode (center hull down) was for low tide and the SWATH mode (center hull up) was for high tide. The tougher ferry terminal was needed on the undeveloped end of the route (Port Mackenzie), but both ends would have had to have terminals built specifically for specialized ferry designs such as this. It would not be a good party barge as it was difficult to route passenger traffic between the inner and outer hulls at the two configurations, or even on and off the ship at such different drafts. One other requirement was to serve as a rescue boat for any plane crash around Anchorage airport.

  • JAM

    lockheed martin had been trying to sell its Slice design to shipyard/operators for offshore crew transport-supply vessel. lockheed had also desiged a crew transfer device as well to be used with their SLICE vessel. if this is ice rated, and they have specified “Shell” as a profile customer they may be looking to market for Arctic operations for offshore fields.

  • Logan

    Giant Nome Gold Dredge.

  • Tom Frazee

    Give it to Bengladesh and save thousands of lives. Don’t worry about Lockheed-Martín, they’re cleaning up with their Drones.

  • JerryRobbins

    Ferry svc to any number of Carib islands!

  • 4conoco

    How much does this expensive mistake burn in fuel?  Hell, lets build 5 more and just GIVE ‘EM to the oil companies. Palin’s skid-mark (parnell) would sign tomorrow!

  • 4conoco

    Who signed off on the funding for this GREAT IDEA? YOUNG? Murkowski?

  • Bald Eagle

    Good homeport, the island of misfit toys…

  • JonRipley

    I want it, how can I buy this boat?

  • John N Florida

    If it can ‘beach’, what facilities does it need other than a refueling capability somewhere in the vicinity?

  • PaulRBuck

    I’ll take it!

  • PaulRBuck

    I’ll take it!

  • PaulRBuck

    I’ll take it!

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