Old AMHS ferries are expected to be loaded onto a heavy haulage vessel outside Ketchikan’s Ward Cove on Friday

The Red Zed 1 is anchored off Ketchikan’s Ward Cove on June 13. (Eric Stone / KRBD)

The two former Alaska Marine Highway fast ferries are tentatively scheduled to be loaded onto a heavy transport vessel bound for Spain on Friday.

Catamarans – Good weather and Chenega – were recently sold for around $ 5 million to a Spanish ferry company and are being shipped through the Panama Canal. The massive U-shaped ship Red Zed 1 has been anchored outside Ward Cove in Ketchikan since early April.

Stephen Bradford, of the Ward Cove Group, said the captain of the Red Zed said the ship would begin to descend into the Tongass Narrows around 1 a.m. on Friday. Both ferries are expected to be towed out of the creek and loaded between 8am and 10am. They are expected to leave the Ketchikan area shortly thereafter. But that timeline could change, Bradford said.

The 235-foot Fairweather and Chenega cost the state $ 68 million to build and entered service in 2004 and 2005, respectively. The catamarans sailed at about double the speed of other state ferries – around 35 miles per hour – and were popular with the passengers.

But the 19,310 horsepower ferries engines engulfed 600 gallons of marine diesel per hour, and that made them expensive to operate. They also struggled in rough seas.

State took the Chenega out of service in 2015. The Fairweather followed in 2019.

Without interest from state agencies or municipalities, the state auctioned them off in January. He got only one offer – from Spanish ferry operator Trasmapi – and closed the $ 5.1 million sale in March.

From their new home across the Atlantic, the fast ferries are expected to carry passengers to and from the Spanish island of Ibiza, a popular Mediterranean tourist destination.


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