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December 9, 2005

Alaska ferry heads to Todd for repairs

The Alaska Marine Highway System says that the M/V LeConte sailed from Ketchikan Wednesday evening en route to Seattle, where work will be done on its propulsion shafts at Todd Shipyard. It will likely be out of service through the end of the month. In its absence, the M/V Taku will adjust its schedule to call on Kake and Hoonah.

The M/V LeConte, launched in late 1973 by Peterson Shipbuilders in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, joined the AMHS fleet in 1974. The LeConte is 235 feet long, with capacity for 250 passengers and 34 vehicles (20' lengths), and operates at a service speed of 14.5 knots.

"It appears that both shafts will need to be removed, along with the couplings," said Jim Beedle, operations manager for AMHS. "Unfortunately, the Ketchikan shipyard was unable to accommodate this emergency repair, due to previously scheduled work on other vessels in its drydock. This is the first time since 1997 that emergency repairs have been sent south, which underscores the need for the second drydock at Ketchikan."

Beedle estimated the repairs to the LeConte could cost about $250,000.

The Taku schedule added a southbound Kake stop on Wednesday, with stops at both Kake and Hoonah northbound on Friday, December 9. The Taku will again stop southbound at Hoonah late Saturday night, and at Kake early Sunday morning. On its northbound return trip, it will stop at both villages on Tuesday, December 13. A similar pattern will be in effect for the Taku until the LeConte returns to service, which will result in some delays when compared to the Taku's published schedule.

In addition, the Alaska Catamaran M/V St. Aquilina will provide passenger-only service between Juneau, Hoonah, Kake, Petersburg, Angoon, Tenakee, and Sitka while the LeConte is out of service.