Efforts to sell an unused ferry owned by the Mat-Su borough continued Thursday Four officials from the Phillippines Navy, and a U.S. Navy advisor examined the ship during a demonstration outside of Ketchikan.
“We get a lot of typhoons, and we do a lot of disaster response operations, this is something that we can do for that purpose."
The M/V Susitna is not your typical ferry. It was designed by the navy as a warship prototype for 75 million dollars.
With the help of the late Senator Ted Stevens, the ship was constructed in Ketchikan, creating jobs in a town that once thrived on the timber industry.
The navy gifted the boat to the Mat-Su borough three years ago when it had no use for it. The intention was to shuttle passengers and vehicles between Anchorage and Port Mackenzie. Those plans sunk when federal funds to build landings on each end of the Cook Inlet dried up. The ferry idea also took hit when the Knik Arm Crossing was proposed.
Now the borough wants to sell it for $6 million.
The M/V Susitna was originally designed to carry 150 passengers and 50 vehicles, but if the Philippines Navy is interested in buying it, they plan to use it for other purposes.
"This is a very unique vessel, that we can beach it,” said Captain Carlos. “It's a catamaran type; we can load a lot of stuff in here."
It could be several months before the Philippines government makes a decision on the ship. Meantime, the Mat-Su Borough is settling up on a bill from the federal government.
The Federal Transit Administration wants the borough to pay back $12.5 million in grant money. Those funds were used for pre-design and environmental studies related to the project.
Any sale of the ferry must be approved by the borough assembly and the federal government.