M/V Columbia undergoing repairs at Vigor Shipyard in Portland, Oregon, this spring. PHOTO COURTESY OF ADOT&PF

By DAN FOX

EDITOR

The M/V Columbia, one of Alaska’s mainline ferries, will require additional time spent at Vigor Shipyard in Portland, Oregon, due to ongoing repairs.

The Alaska Marine Highway System announced the delay in a press release on June 13; AHMS also stated the vessel is expected to return to service July 26.

The Columbia was sent in for repairs after an incident in September 2016 – a suspected propeller strike with an unknown object.

This delay will impact some passengers, the release states.

The M/V Malaspina will run in the Columbia’s place, and will continue until the Columbia is back in service in late July.

Since the Malaspina is a smaller vessel, some passengers will not get the cabins they reserved and some vehicle reservations will be cancelled.

The required parts for the repair had to be fabricated in Germany. According to the release, the propeller repairs were made and considered successful, and the vessel was moved into sea trials to test the new equipment. During those trials, the Columbia experienced another mechanical failure that was related to the newly-installed propeller system.

“Currently, technicians are working to diagnose the new failure and are developing a new repair plan,” the release states. “Once repairs are made the U.S. Coast Guard and the American Bureau of Shipping will certify the vessel as safe to operate.”