The M/V Tustumena has been docked in Homer since July 26 to rest the crew for several days, according to a Tuesday press release from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
A critical crew shortage required the vessel to stay in port for safety reasons, the release said. Sailings between Homer and Kodiak have been canceled until Saturday.
The ship has been operating with a small crew in southwest Alaska since July 16, according to DOT&PF. Due to insufficient numbers of replacement staff, the ship has not been able to fill essential positions that became vacant because of illness or other issues. Staffing shortages have been a concern nationally and throughout the Alaska Marine Highway System.
Since early 2022, DOT&PF has embarked on an aggressive hiring campaign to recruit workers. The department is employing has hired recruiting firms, participed in job fairs across Alaska and Washington, and offered $5,000 signing bonuses to attract new crew members.
People interested in working for the marine highway can vist the AMHS hiring page at https://dot.alaska.gov/amhs/employment.shtml.
DOT&PF will update the ship’s return to service schedule via a press release and social media in the upcoming days.