The MV Susitna, “Knik Arm Ferry,” is not a boondoggle; it should not be thrown away. This fine little ship was built to demonstrate a traffic “need” to Port MacKenzie. The Alaska Marine Highway System states it will not mate with its current docks — that does not matter if it serves only Cook Inlet.
Operating as a “will call” due to the powerful tides, once refitted (galley, bar and crew quarters, etc.) for longer voyages, it could serve both shores of Cook Inlet from Port Graham and Williamsport in the south to Anchorage and possibly Tyonek and MacKenzie, really anywhere with a gravel beach (it’s a landing craft) or properly built dock. Anchorage has a gravel beach below Point Woronzof Park northwest of the Ted Stevens International Airport.
Set sail to Kachemak Bay for cheaper mooring. On Cook Inlet it would open up business, resource and tourist opportunities throughout the region.
Were the shipyards in Alaska set up to build “federal earmark” ships, just to give them away? Alaskans should employ this asset.
— Thomas R. Wilson