JUNEAU Three state ferry sailings will be canceled later this month as the state ferry Matanuska takes over the Columbia's runs to and from Bellingham, Wash., a week early.
A Sept. 26 Ketchikan-Prince Rupert, British Columbia, run will be canceled, as will a Sept. 26-29 Rupert-Skagway run and a Sept. 29-30 Skagway-Rupert sailing. Ticketed passengers have been notified of the change. For details, call (800) 642-0066, 465-3941 or check the Web site www.alaska.gov/ferry.
Capt. George Capacci, ferry system general manager, said the schedule was changed to reflect demand, since the Columbia is an expensive ship to run.
The Columbia is slated for about $5 million in work before next summer as part of a three-phase modernization effort. The project is out to bid, but a shipyard has not been chosen, Capacci said.
Two other ships also are making changes. The Taku is scheduled to undergo its annual overhaul, a $400,000 project at Ketchikan's Alaska Ship and Drydock, starting next week at the shipyard. The Malaspina will end its Juneau-Haines-Skagway day-boat operation after its Sunday sailing and will be used this winter in staff training exercises in Ketchikan and Juneau.