Tag Archives: Alaska Marine Highway System

Tustumena Now Docking at Pier 2

Jay Barrett/KMXT
Due to construction work to replace Kodiak’s Pier 1, the state ferry Tustumena will be docking at Pier 2, also known as City Dock. The Tusty will be joining the ferry Kennicott at its usual tie-up spot.
However, passengers will still check in at the ferry terminal office at Pier 1.
The change went into effect yesterday, and is expected to continue until May.
Here’s a link to more information.

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July Humpback Death Likely from Kennicott Collision

State and federal officials conducted the examination of the 25-ton humpback whale on Puffin Island in Kodiak in July after it was killed by what is now believed to be a collission with the ferry Kennicott. Photo courtesy Kate Wynn

State and federal officials conducted the examination of the 25-ton humpback whale on Puffin Island in Kodiak in July after it was killed by what is now believed to be a collission with the ferry Kennicott. Photo courtesy Kate Wynn

Associated Press
Federal authorities believe the death of a whale near Kodiak in July was likely due to a collision with the state ferry Kennicott.
There were questions around the time of the incident about whether the animal was already dead when the ship struck it. Julie Speegle, a spokeswoman with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said that doesn’t appear to be the case. She says the whale was freshly dead when examined.
A necropsy found the cause of death to be a fractured skull due to a ship strike.
She says there were no findings in the report that the animal was injured before the collision.
Speegle says charges will not be pursued in the case, because the ship strike was unintentional and there was no evidence of a violation.

Tustumena Aids Fishing Vessel

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Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
The Alaska Ferry Tustumena lived up to its nickname Trusty Tusty on Monday. While traveling from Sand Point to Old Harbor, the ferry helped tow a fishing vessel to safety.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Kelly Parker said the F/V Pacific Storm contacted the Coast Guard just after 7 a.m. reporting a broken transmission. The boat was anchored near Tugidak Island, and the Coast Guard issued a marine assist broadcast.
Alaska Marine Highway System Spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said the Tustumena was returning from its Aleutian Chain route when it picked up the broadcast and aided the vessel just before noon.
“The area that the Pacific Storm happened to be anchored was actually on the same tracking line that the Tustumena usually sails and so the vessel kept its course and was able to provide assistance and tow the vessel into a safer area, into Alitak Bay.”    Continue reading

Whale Collision With Kennicott Under Investigation

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The necropsy crew poses in front of the beached humpback whale on Puffin Island earlier this week. Back row, from left to right: Nia Pristas, Glenn McKenney, Nesie Smith, Julie Matweyou and Dana Wright of the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, Brent Pristas and Joe Sekerak from NOAA and Lei Guo from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Front row: Kit and Kate Savage from NOAA, Chief Pathologist Frances Gulland, Marine Mammal Specialist Kate Wynne and Veterinarian Kathy Dot.

The necropsy crew poses in front of the beached humpback whale on Puffin Island earlier this week. Back row, from left to right: Nia Pristas, Glenn McKenney, Nesie Smith, Julie Matweyou and Dana Wright of the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, Brent Pristas and Joe Sekerak from NOAA and Lei Guo from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Front row: Kit and Kate Savage from NOAA, Chief Pathologist Frances Gulland, Marine Mammal Specialist Kate Wynne and Veterinarian Kathy Dot.

Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration law enforcement officials are currently investigating a collision between the state ferry Kennicott and a humpback whale near Kodiak. The incident was first reported on Saturday and brought a multi-agency team of scientists to the island to help determine whether or not the collision caused the death of the 30-foot-long, subadult humpback whale.
Kate Wynne is a marine mammal specialist for the University of Alaska Sea Grant Program and spent all of Wednesday cutting open the 25-ton humpback whale, which is currently beached on Puffin Island, just beyond Kodiak harbor’s breakwater.
“This animal definitely died from a massive trauma. It got hit. It got t-boned basically in a characteristic way that ship strikes have been evidenced before. So, broken ribs, broken spine, skull fracture – that sort of thing. The determination of how that happened is out of my realm and it’s in the investigation mode still.”  Continue reading

OuzinkieTo Get Additional Tusty Stops

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Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

As summer sailings continue, the Alaska Marine Highway System is already looking toward the next season. The winter ferry schedule was recently released, covering sailings between October 1 and April 30.
Marine Highway System Spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said the schedule for Kodiak and its surrounding villages is fairly similar to previous years, with additional Tustumena stops added in Ouzinkie.
“Every other Friday, and that’s part of the public input that was expressed during the public comment period and so that’s really the major change that’s coming to the Kodiak island area – is that extra stop.”  Continue reading

Community Questions, Critiques New Ferry Design

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Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
About two dozen people gathered in the Kodiak Public Library’s multipurpose room Wednesday night to hear about the state’s plan for replacing the aging ferry Tustumena.
David Larsen is a naval architect from Seattle who has been working on the design process since November. Even though the Tustumena underwent a significant amount of repairs last year, Larsen said it’s still a 50-year-old ship and that’s why the state is thinking about her replacement now, rather than later.
“As I’ve said you know we’re not going to have this new ship tomorrow, it’s 5, 6, 8 years down the road depending on the availability of funding. So it’s time to start thinking about it because it takes 3 years, 4 years to design and build a new ship.”
Larsen said he did the math on how many miles the Tustumena theoretically has from her half century of operation and estimates it’s around 3.5 million.
As for a replacement, Larsen presented preliminary designs for the ship, which will be 34 feet longer, 11 feet wider and 2 feet deeper than the Tustumena. He said it should be capable of carrying about 76 additional passengers, totaling about 250 people, and 16 additional vehicles.
Captain John Falvey, director of the Alaska Marine Highway System, was also at Wednesday’s meeting and said the ship will be smaller than the Kennicott so it can continue serving smaller ports.“Well what we’re trying to do with this boat, and what we did right from the very start of the entire project was to say we know how big the old Tustumena is – how big, and how much capacity, or in essence how physically big can we make the new Tustumena, and still get into all the ports we currently serve. And that’s it right there. We are pigeonholed right there. You start building a bigger ship and you’re not going to get into any of those ports, and that’s a problem. So we went as big and as much capacity as we could and still have a ship that can provide service to every one of those ports.”
Much of Wednesday’s meeting was spent answering questions and taking input on the new ship’s design. Some brought up the idea of making the ferry a drive-on, drive-off system – without an elevator – much like the ferries used in Southeast. Falvey said the issue is south central and Aleutian chain communities don’t have the necessary infrastructure to support that type of system.

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