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Alaska sues ferry builder

Joshua Saul

The State of Alaska filed a lawsuit March 26 against the contractors that built two fast ferries that carry passengers and vehicles on Alaska waters.

Since the state accepted delivery of the ships in 2004 and 2005, the propulsion systems have had multiple problems, according to a state Department of Law press release. In 2006 the Fairweather needed a massive overhaul when all four diesel engines had hairline cracks in their steel sleeves, and there were additional problems with the gears and bearings.

In the press release Attorney General Dan Sullivan said "We received a faulty product, and we intend to see that the citizens and taxpayers of Alaska are appropriately compensated."

The suit was filed against Robert E. Derecktor, the contractor that designed and built the ships, and also against the companies that built the ship's engines.

According to the Department of Transportation Web site, the Chenega is 235 feet long and can speed along at 32 knots. The ship can carry 250 passengers and 36 vehicles.