Columbia's return to service delayed

Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2008

JUNEAU - Shipyard personnel worked through the night Thursday and Coast Guard officials agreed to continue an inspection process through the weekend to expedite the certificate process for the ferry Columbia.

But the vessel will remain out of service until at least Wednesday, according to John Falvey, Alaska Marine Highway System general manager.

The Columbia was supposed to be back in service Friday after undergoing capital improvement projects that began in late August.

The change is expected to affect travel plans for customers who made reservations on the ferry Matanuska between Saturday and Wednesday, because that vessel will remain on the Bellingham, Wash., run for an additional week.

The Matanuska's Prince Rupert, British Columbia, passengers and vehicles will be transferred to other vessels, the ferry system said in a statement.

The 418-foot Columbia's return to service is dependent on a certificate of inspection from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in Portland, Ore.

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