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MV Matanuska

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Title: MV Matanuska  
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Subject: MV Taku, MV Malaspina, MV Tustumena, MV Columbia, Alaska Marine Highway System vessels
Collection: 1963 Ships, Alaska Marine Highway System Vessels
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

MV Matanuska

MV Matanuska
MV Matanuska
United States
Name: Matanuska
Namesake: Matanuska Glacier, Chugach Mountains
Owner: 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, as of 2016
General characteristics
Class & type: Malaspina-class mainline ferry
Tonnage: 3,029 Domestic, 9,214 International[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.


  • History 1
    • 2012 dock collision 1.1
  • Role 2
  • Amenities 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


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]

In June of 2012, the MV Matanuska will have served the AMHS over fifty years.

2012 dock collision

On May 7, 2012, the MV Matanuska collided with a seafood processing plant's dock 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 deemed seaworthy and continued on to other ports to pick up passengers, though was two hours behind schedule.[6] The preliminary cause of the crash is being blamed on a "strong current" though an investigation was being launched at that time.[6] The Matanuska was carrying 60 passengers at the time of the crash.[6]

On May 10, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that the cause of the crash was not mechanical in nature.[7] "Verbal interviews" were being completed on May 10 as well.[7] As of May 10, 2012, the investigation is still ongoing.[7]


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.

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; cocktail lounge and bar; solarium; forward, aft, movie, and business lounges; gift shop; 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 f Loesch, Ron; Ashe, Suzanne (May 10, 2012). "Matanuska hits Ocean Beauty dock". Petersburg Pilot. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Lichtenstein, Matt (May 10, 2012). "Coast Guard rules out mechanical problem in ferry accident".  


  • Cohen, Stan. (1997). Highway on the Sea: A Pictorial History of the Alaska Marine Highway System. Missoula, MT: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Inc.  
  • Kiffer, Dave. (2006). "The Grand Ships of the Alaska Marine Highway System". Site News. Retrieved January 27, 2012. 
  • "Vessel Profiles". Alaska Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  • Welcome Aboard! M/V Matanuska. Alaska Marine Highway pamphlet. 

External links

  • Alaska Marine Highway System official website
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