The M/V Tustumena returns to Homer on Aug. 1, 2010, after spending the day in Seldovia, Alaska. (Homer News file photo)

The M/V Tustumena returns to Homer on Aug. 1, 2010, after spending the day in Seldovia, Alaska. (Homer News file photo)

M/V Tustumena return to service delayed

The M/V Tustumena will not return to service this month as scheduled.

In a press release on April 4, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced that the Tustumena will return to service on May 18 and that it will remain at the Vigor Ketchikan Shipyard longer than previously expected.

The delay is due to the discovery of additional and extensive steel wastage in the car deck. Steel wastage is rusted or pitted steel that has to be cut out and, if not thick enough, replaced with new steel. The 55-year-old Tustumena had been scheduled to return to Homer on April 18. The ferry went in for its annual overhaul on Feb. 17 under a repair plan developed with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The new scheduled return date is 10:30 a.m. May 18, when the ferry departs Homer for service to Kodiak. The delay will impact communities in Southwest Alaska and the Aleutian Chain. Alaska Marine Highway Staff will contact affected passengers.

For more information, call local terminals or the AMHS central reservations office at 1-907-465-3941 or toll free at 1-800-642-0066. An updated schedule for the vessel is available online at FerryAlaska.com.

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