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MV Matanuska

MV Matanuska
MV Matanuska
United States
Name: Matanuska
Namesake: Matanuska Glacier, Chugach Mountains
Owner: Flag of Alaska.svg Alaska Marine Highway System
Operator: Alaska Marine Highway
Port of registry:  United States
Builder: Puget Sound Bridge & Dry Dock, Seattle, Washington
Yard number: 114
Launched: 1963[1]
Refit: 1978[2]
Homeport: Haines, Alaska
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Class and type: Malaspina-class mainline ferry
Tonnage: 3,029 Domestic, 9,214 International[clarification needed][1]
Displacement: 5,569 long tons (5,658 t)[1]
Length: 408 ft (124 m)[1]
Beam: 74 ft (23 m)[1]
Draft: 16 ft 11.63 in (5.1722 m)[1]
Decks: One vehicle deck, three passenger decks[3]
Ramps: Aft, port, and starboard ro-ro loading
Installed power: Two 3,620 hp MaK diesel engines[3][1]
Speed: 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph)[1]
  • 499 passengers
  • 88 vehicles[1]
Crew: 50[1]

MV Matanuska, colloquially known as the Mat, is a mainline Malaspina-class ferry vessel for the Alaska Marine Highway System.


In 1959, as Alaska became a state, voters approved $18 Million dollars in bonds to build its Marine Highway and associated harbor facilities.[4] Philip F. Spaulding & Associates, was given the contract to design 4 vessels.[5] Three of these ships would dramatically expand service to south-east Alaska, and a fourth ship initiated service to south-central Alaska and the Aleutian chain. The third of the south-east sister ships built was the Matanuska constructed in 1963 by Puget Sound Bridge & Dry Dock in Seattle, Washington.[2] The Matanuska was lengthened by 56 feet in 1978 at the Willamette Iron & Shipbuilding Company in Portland Oregon.[2]

2012 dock collision

On May 7, 2012, the MV Matanuska collided with the processing plant dock for Ocean Beauty Seafoods' in Petersburg, Alaska.[6] Damage was extensive to the building and dock, while the ship received only "dents...above the waterline".[6] There were no injuries in on the dock, the plant, or on the Matanuska.[6] After an inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard, she was deemed seaworthy and continued on to other ports to pick up passengers, though was two hours behind schedule.[6] The cause of the crash was determined to be conning errors made by the master, who attempted to use a known countercurrent to slow the ship on the approach in to port, standard procedure by masters for that approach.[7] However, the countercurrent was not present that day, resulting in a higher than expected approach speed. The Matanuska was carrying 60 passengers at the time of the crash, but no one was hurt.[6]


The Matanuska is a mainline ferry, serving the larger communities of the Alaskan Panhandle (such as Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Sitka). Matanuska’s route spans the entirety of the Alaskan inside passage, often beginning in Prince Rupert, British Columbia or Bellingham, Washington north to Skagway. Matanuska is not ocean-certified, and therefore cannot run across the gulf of Alaska or out the Aleutian Chain.[citation needed]

The Matanuska is similar to its sister ship, the Malaspina, but larger than Taku which was never stretched beyond her original size.


The ship's amenities include a hot-food cafeteria; lounge; solarium; forward, aft, movie, and business lounges; 4 four-berth cabins; 23 three-berth cabins; and 80 two-berth cabins.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Vessel Profiles, M/V Matanuska
  2. ^ a b c Cohen 1994, p.20.
  3. ^ a b Welcome Aboard
  4. ^ Kiffer, 2006
  5. ^ Cohen 1994, p.12.
  6. ^ a b c d e Loesch, Ron; Ashe, Suzanne (May 10, 2012). "Matanuska hits Ocean Beauty dock". Petersburg Pilot. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  7. ^ Yanchunas, Dom. "Alaska ferry crash blamed on speed and lack of countercurrent". Professional Mariner. Retrieved 29 January 2019.


External links