Alaska ferry goes into service four years after delivery

(JUNEAU, Alaska) – The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) announced that the U.S. Coast Guard has granted M/V Hubbard its certificate of inspection (COI), allowing the ferry to go into service and begin its first operational year since it was delivered in 2019.

Hubbard will operate in Lynn Canal six days a week this summer, with sailings between Juneau, Haines and Skagway. The vessel left Juneau on May 23 with approximately 60 passengers and 21 vehicles.

“Bringing the Hubbard into service for Alaskans has been a long-term goal of the department,” said Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Ryan Anderson. “The team at AMHS made this happen. I want to thank them for all their hard work in making the Hubbard an active member of the fleet.”

Alaska Department of Transportation photo

Utilizing Hubbard in Lynn Canal allows AMHS to leverage M/V LeConte, increasing service frequency for other communities in the Northern Panhandle.

Hubbard was designed by Elliott Bay Design Group of Seattle, Wash., and constructed at Vigor Shipyard in Ketchikan, Alaska. It is the second Alaska-class ferry built in Ketchikan, along with its sister ship Tazlina.

Hubbard recently underwent a $15 million project adding crew quarters to the vessel at Vigor. The project included the addition of eight single-person staterooms on the bridge deck and eight two-person staterooms on the upper deck. Furthermore, upgrades include the installation of a galley, scullery and mess spaces on the upper deck, a new fan room on the bridge deck, and the extension of the existing port stair tower to the bridge deck.

With the addition of crew quarters has an expanded operating range which significantly enhances systemwide flexibility and redundancy, improving the overall reliability of the Alaska Marine Highway System.

“Adding crew quarters to the Hubbard gives us flexibility in the AMHS fleet, allowing the ship to sail to more ports when needed,” said Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “Revitalizing the fleet is important to the long term health of the Marine Highway, and the communities it serves. I pleased we’ve taken another step toward that.”

The vessel’s name, Hubbard, pays tribute to the Hubbard Glacier 35 miles north of Yakutat. In alignment with tradition, all AMHS ferries are named after Alaska glaciers. The name Hubbard was selected through a statewide essay contest held in 2016, where Taylor Thompson, an Eagle River High School sophomore, emerged as the contest’s winner.

– Alaska Department of Transportation

By Rich Miller