Derecktor Wins AMHS Fast Ferry Deal

Derecktor Shipyards has emerged victorious in the battle to build a pair of high speed ferries for the Alaska Marine Highway Systems.

Late last month, Paul Derecktor, Alaska Governor Tony Knowles, State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Perkins and several Alaska State Officials attended the signing of the contract at the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau.

Derecktor Shipyards teamed with Nigel Gee and Associates (NGA) Ltd. of Southampton, England and will use one of their original designs, developed expressly for the Alaska project.

The new boats are designed to be safe, high-speed RoRo passenger ferries that minimize costs and can interface with existing AMHS docks and pier side facilities. The vessels will be designed to carry 250 passengers on the main deck and 35 large vehicles, of the type mostly used in Alaska, on the cargo deck at a continuous-rating service speed of 35 knots and with great comfort up to sea state 6.

This project, funded by the Federal Government will allow the State of Alaska to link Sitka to Juneau with fast modern boats, capable of a comfortable one-day round trip, and improve service to communities in Prince William Sound. The first vessel is scheduled to enter service between Juno and Sitka at the beginning of 2004, while the second vessel should follow a year later.

"These ferries will improve transportation in coastal Alaska and will help the Alaska Marine Highway System improve its bottom line," DOT Commissioner Perkins said. "This is the beginning of a whole new era in marine transportation in Alaska." The Alaska Marine Highway System has been operating year-round since 1963, with regularly scheduled passenger and vehicle service to 32 communities in Alaska. It carries over 300,000 passengers every year.

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Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 41,  Mar 2002 Tony Knowles

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