Alaska Editorial: Old boats

This editorial first appeard in the Ketchikan Daily News:

 

It’s not the case with people, of course. But with boats, when the average age of the “family” is 32.27 years including the short-haul “baby” Lituya, at 9, and two fast ferries that don’t do long runs over open ocean that’s an old bunch of boats.

And so it is that we continue to get announcements from the Alaska Marine Highway System about delays due to mechanical issues. The ferries that can make the long hauls the ones we depend on desperately as our road here in Southeast include the trio of 50-year-olds, the Malaspina, Matanuska and Taku, with the Tustumena, at 49, not far behind.

Of course there are mechanical issues. The latest was Monday, on the teenage Kennicott (15). The ferry was eight hours behind due to a mechanical issue and then tidal delays.

Things happen; the crews respond quickly and as efficiently as safety and supplies will allow. Our point is not to blame those who do the heavy lifting on our highway system for problems beyond their control.

Our point is that we need to shake a leg and get more ferries built. We regret the time lost to changing horses in mid-stream, moving from Alaska Class ferries to day boats. But that change is under way, so let’s get the job done.

For those now wondering, here are the ages of the vessels comprising our highway: The Aurora is 36; Chenega (fast ferry), 8; Columbia, 39; Kennicott, 15; LeConte, 40; Lituya and Fairweather (fast ferry), each 9; Malaspina, Matanuska and Taku, each 50; and the Tustumena, 49.

They’re great old gals, many of them, and we love them. But we need to get to the Lower 48, and to points north reliably.

The younger generation needs to be ready when it’s time to step up, and the time is nigh.

CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

 

More

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 07:50

Stay strong, Sen. Murkowski

Alaskans aren’t known for choosing the easy road.

Read more
Thu, 08/17/2017 - 07:24

The EPA should remedy past misdeeds

On most issues there are multiple perspectives. This is the case with Pebble. Eric Forrer recently wrote about his views regarding recent actions by the... Read more

Sex and bigotry remains an important issue

I have been trying to write about sex and religion, because I’m convinced that Catholic teaching about sex is all wrong and would, if it... Read more

Alaska can lead the way on racial issues

In the aftermath of the violence and hatred on display in Charlottesville this weekend, I found myself in deep reflection.

Read more