New Alaska State Ferries to Be Built in Alaska

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MV Malaspina departing Juneau, Alaska. Photo © John Hyde

The State of Alaska and Vigor Industrial have reached a final agreement to construct two Alaska Class Ferries at Vigor Alaska in Ketchikan, Alaska, Governor Sean Parnell announced Monday.

The vessels will be the first Alaska Marine Highway System ferries built in Alaska. Governor Parnell made the announcement at a community event held by Vigor Alaska at the Ketchikan Shipyard.

Employing the Construction Manager General Contractor (CMGC) process, the State worked with Vigor Industrial to negotiate a guaranteed maximum price to construct both vessels. The construction contract and costs to build both ferries in Ketchikan will be at the $120 million budgeted amount.

“These vessels will be the largest ships ever built in Alaska,’ Governor Parnell said. “Building these ferries in state will be a major boost for Alaska’s economy. This has been our intent during the entire process and will help create hundreds of new year-round jobs at the Ketchikan shipyard, while helping Ketchikan develop a highly capable workforce, not only for the growing marine economy of Southeast Alaska, but with skills that can translate into work across the state.”

The State was able to incorporate public input into the final design of the ferries while keeping the project within budget. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2018.

The ferries will be 280 feet long, seat up to 300 passengers and carry 53 standard vehicles. Each ferry will feature bow and stern doors for quicker loading and unloading, fully enclosed car decks, and controllable pitch propellers to maximize maneuverability and efficiency. A modified hull design will greatly improve traveler comfort during rough weather.

Hundreds of Ketchikan residents attended the community event and barbecue at the Shipyard, and cheered the announcement.