Local News

Kennicott delayed 48 hours for elevator repair

This truck-sized turntable is part of the Kennicot’s vehicle loading system. (Flickr photo/Eli Duke)


The state ferry Kennicott has resumed its cross-gulf sailings after a two-day delay in Yakutat for repairs.

Unlike some of her older sister ships, the Kennicott did not experience the trouble in its engine or propulsion systems. Rather, it was one of it was one of its more modern pieces of equipment that experienced problems: the vehicle elevator.

Listen to iFriendly audio.

Capt. Mike Neussl, who’s serving his last week as the Deputy Commissioner of Marine Operations, says the Coast Guard issued a “no sail” order when the elevator broke down. Neussl says the elevator is the only way vehicles can get on and off the Kennicott in ports that lack a floating dock.

“It allows vehicles that are on a fixed dock – that doesn’t vary with the tide – to drive on to the elevator platform of the ship and then be lowered down into the hold of the ship. It spins on a turntable so they can drive up into the forward part of the ship, and then the reverse coming off. They drive on to the elevator and are lifted to whatever level based on the tide at that time – up three floors or four floors – to get level with the dock so they can drive off.”

The Kennicott’s vehicle elevator is near the stern, under the helipad. (Flickr photo/Jill Goodell)

The vehicle elevator is an unfamiliar sight for anyone who doesn’t live in Yakutat, Kodiak, or the several other ports in the Marine Highway system that have fixed docks. The only other ferry with an elevator is the Tustumena. Neussl says you may have stood on the Kennicott’s elevator, and not realized it.

“It’s fairly well-integrated into the ship. You wouldn’t actually know that there’s an elevator there because when it’s stored there are railings and you can walk around all the decks. It’s not like you’re climbing across a car elevator or anything. But it is there, and designed to work at those fixed-dock locations.”

The Marine Highway flew technicians to Yakutat to make the fix. Neussl hasn’t learned the exact nature of the repair, except that it’s expected to be permanent, and require no further work. The Kennicott left Yakutat at about 11:30 PM last Wednesday – about 48 hours behind schedule — bound for Whittier across the Gulf of Alaska. Passengers directly affected by the delay have already been notified. People planning a trip on the Kennicott in the near future should check with the Alaska Marine Highway central reservations office (800-642-0066) for updated schedule information.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Governor declares disaster in Sitka, freeing up relief funds

150818_slides_Waldholz_01
On Friday, Governor Bill Walker issued a disaster declaration for Sitka, in response to seven landslides on August 18th. In a letter to the legislature, Walker said he would cap relief at $1 million for the moment, but that the incident is ongoing and total recovery costs are unknown. According to Gorman, the cost of emergency response alone is estimated to be over half a million dollars. Individual assistance and family grants are also available, at a cap of $16,450 per household. more

LIVE: Web stream of Glacier Conference

GLACIER_Logo_1_Color_668_1
Today (08-31-15), the U.S. State Department will host a GLACIER Conference in Anchorage. Diplomats from 20 countries will discuss challenges facing Arctic communities. Click here for the agenda. To view a live web stream of the President's closing remarks around 5pm, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/ more