State confirms sale of Taku

Ferry, laid up since 2015, will go to Portland

The ferry Taku is seen in an undated winter photo from the Alaska Department of Transportation. (Rebecca Rauf | Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)

The state has confirmed it will sell the ferry Taku to a developer who intends to turn it into a floating hotel in Portland.


Jonathan Cohen, representing KeyMar LLC, bid $300,000 to buy the 352-foot ferry, which has been moored unused in Ketchikan’s Ward Cove since 2015.

Cohen’s bid and two others of about $50,000 were less than the state’s reserve price, $350,000. Bids were opened on Friday, and because no bids met the minimum, the state had the ability to negotiate with bidders.

[Ferry Taku may be bound for Portland and become a hipster]

In a statement Tuesday morning, the Alaska Department of Transportation said it has finished those negotiations and will sell the Taku to Cohen.

According to the department, the ship will be transferred from state ownership once the sale closes. A closing date has not been set.

When the sale closes, the state will release details of the plan to move the Taku to Portland (or another destination for renovations). Cohen told the Empire by phone on Monday that the ship will likely stay in Ward Cove for several months before moving out.

John Falvey, general manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System, said Tuesday that he was very satisfied with the result of the sale.

Before bids were opened, the state removed about $500,000 in equipment from the Taku. That gear will be used on other state ferries, including the two Alaska-class ferries under construction in Ketchikan.

Falvey said removing the equipment was a gamble — it could have deterred bidders from buying the ship — but it paid off in the end.

• Contact reporter James Brooks at or call 523-2258.



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