Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska Marine Highway System announced that the U.S. Coast Guard has granted the M/V Hubbard its Certificate of Inspection (COI), marking a significant achievement for the vessel and her crew. This certification allows Hubbard to commence revenue service, beginning its first operational year since it was delivered in 2019.
The Hubbard will operate in Lynn Canal six days a week this summer, with sailings between Juneau, Haines, and Skagway. The vessel left Juneau today with approximately 60 passengers, and 21 vehicles.
Gabriel Baylous, one of the masters of the Hubbard spoke with News of The North on how he felt ahead of its maiden voyage.
"Well, it's going to be a learning experience, in a lot of ways with passenger services, but I'm confident in the machinery and the crew," Baylous said. "We did a lot of sea trialing, hard maneuvers, in an attempt to test the equipment, and it proved satisfactory. It's the finest ship I've ever handled, it's very maneuverable. I'm confident that it will perform well and adverse weather conditions."
Hubbard recently underwent a $15 million project adding crew quarters to the vessel at Vigor Shipyard in Ketchikan. The project included the addition of eight single-person staterooms on the Bridge Deck and eight two-person staterooms on the Upper Deck. Furthermore, upgrades include the installation of a galley, scullery, and mess spaces on the Upper Deck, a new fan room on the Bridge Deck, and the extension of the existing port stair tower to the Bridge Deck.
(Members of the Hubbard's Crew. Both Master Samuel Abell and Master Gabriel Baylous can be seen on the left side of the photo. Photo Credit Jordan Lewis/KINY)
With the addition of crew quarters, the Hubbard, one of two Alaska Class Ferries, has an expanded operating range which significantly enhances system-wide flexibility and redundancy, improving the overall reliability of the Alaska Marine Highway System.
(Master Samuel Abell receiving the Certificate of Inspection. Photo Credit Jordan Lewis/KINY)
“Adding crew quarters to the Hubbard gives us flexibility in the AMHS fleet, allowing the ship to sail to more ports when needed,” Governor Mike Dunleavy said. “Revitalizing the fleet is important to the long-term health of the Marine Highway, and the communities it serves. I'm pleased we’ve taken another step toward that.”
The vessel's name, the Hubbard, pays tribute to the Hubbard Glacier 35 miles north of Yakutat. In alignment with tradition, all AMHS ferries are named after Alaska glaciers. The name Hubbard was selected through a statewide essay contest held in 2016, where Taylor Thompson, an Eagle River High School sophomore, emerged as the contest's winner.
Master Baylous also expressed his excitement about the M/V Hubbards maiden voyage ahead of its departure today.
"Yes, I'm very excited. It is a rare opportunity to be able to work as a captain on our maiden voyage of a ship," he said. "So yeah, I think me personally, this is going to be a high point of my career and of everyone that took part in the construction and the issuance of the certificate of inspection with the Coast Guard and everything getting ready. I think everyone at AMHS should be very proud that the ship is finally getting online after so many years."
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