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Alaska News

Alaska will mothball ferry Malaspina after repair estimates exceed budget

The Alaska Marine Highway ferry Malaspina cruises through Tracy Arm in Southeast Alaska as part of its 50th anniversary voyage on May 4, 2013. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire/AP file)

JUNEAU - A state ferry will be put into storage in Ketchikan because there’s no money to repair it.

The Alaska Marine Highway System announced Thursday that the Malaspina will be placed in “unmanned, long-term layup status” on Jan. 10.

The Malaspina will end revenue service Dec. 2 when it reaches Ketchikan.

The 56-year-old Malaspina is a 408-foot mainline ferry.

The Malaspina this winter was scheduled for overhaul but a preliminary investigation revealed the need for extensive steel replacement.

Ferry officials in an announcement said the estimated $16 million repair cost exceeds the available budget.

Ferry officials say there will be no impact on the system schedule. They also say no long-term decisions have been regarding the Malaspina’s future.