By Rob Cone-Clark
Turnagain Times Correspondent
The Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Aurora was taken out of service the first week of November after experiencing an electrical problem while crossing Prince William Sound. The trouble occurred Friday, Nov. 7 approximately 45 miles into the 90-mile Whittier to Cordova route with 56 people and 23 vehicles on board.
The State Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Chief Communications Officer Roger Wetherell said the problem was with the number two generator, causing the emergency generator to kick in. He said the propulsion system was not affected, but the 31-year-old ship did black out. The ship underwent repairs and is now fixed.
The U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Valdez received a radio contact with the injured ship at 3p.m.
“The ferry was allowed to continue to Cordova,” said Coast Guard Public Affairs Specialist Levi Read, and it dropped off all of its passengers.”
Early Saturday morning the Aurora left Cordova for Whittier, with no passengers. Once in Whittier, the Aurora was repaired and the on-scene class surveyor verified and tested the Aurora for proper repairs. The surveyor then reported to the Coast Guard that the State Ferry Aurora was repaired properly and was safe to carry passengers again. The ferry was allowed to continue operations at 6:45 p.m. Sunday.
Whittier Ferry Terminal Manager Mary Brenneman said the Port of Whittier is the preferred port for the areas ferries to conduct repairs.
“We are closer to the airport and closer to Anchorage than any of the other Marine Highway communities,” she said.