AMHS to assess ferry grounding damage

Posted: Sunday, February 15, 2009

JUNEAU - The Alaska Marine Highway System is assessing damage to the 181-foot ferry Lituya, sustained after the ship grounded weeks ago near the Southeast town of Metlakatla.

AMHS officials planned to raise the ship from the water onto the dry dock on Feb. 13 to better analyze the extent of damage.

"We're slowly learning a bit more about the vessel's status after we had a chance to open all of Lituya's voids," said Capt. John Falvey, AMHS general manager. "We've done a lot of crawling around, as has the shipyard and AMHS engineers, but we're still in the early stages of our damage assessment."

The ship reportedly broke free from its mooring shortly after midnight Jan. 30 at the Metlakatla terminal, drifted and grounded on rocks.

There were no passengers, crew, pets or vehicles aboard the ferry when the incident occurred.

According to Falvey, the biggest hurdle AMHS faces for Lituya's speedy return to the fleet depends on current shipyard and dry dock availability.

AMHS officials expect to have more information and a detailed repair plan in coming days to best determine the time needed to complete the repairs.

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