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Tusty Refit Awarded to JAG Alaska at Seward Shipyard

City of Unalaska

The work should extend the ferry's life until a replacement is built.

The state’s aging mainline ferry that serves coastal communities from Homer to Unalaska will be refit in Seward this year. An announcement from the Department of Transportation said the $9.4 million Tustumena capital improvement project was awarded to JAG Alaska, a shipyard in Seward.

The work is intended as a stop-gap by extending the ship’s service life until the Tustumena Replacement Vessel can be put into service in approximately five to six years.

Upgrades include refurbishing the main vehicle elevator, new exterior hull coatings, steel piping replacements -- including black and gray water drains, bilge and ballast systems, ballast piping and valves, LED lighting and upgrades to the promenade deck.

The ferry Hubbard is also being refit this winter. It was the second “Alaska Class” ferry built in Alaska in 2018, along with its sister ship the M/V Tazlina. Its overhaul is happening at Vigor Alaska Shipyard in Ketchikan.

Jay Barrett, KBBI's new News Director should be a familiar voice to our listeners. He's been contributing to Kenai Peninsula news for the last three years out of KDLL Kenai, and was the voice of The Alaska Fisheries Report from KMXT for 12 years. Jay worked for KBBI about 20 years ago as the Central Peninsula Reporter at KDLL.