Three shipbuilders interested in building fast ferries

Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- Three shipbuilders have indicated an interest in building fast ferries for the Alaska Marine Highway System, the agency said.

Derecktor Shipyards of New York, Eastern Shipbuilding of Florida, and Austal USA, an Australian company with a shipyard in Alabama, have submitted proposals for the project, said Philip Grasser, marine engineering manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System.

The state will determine whether the companies can build two high-speed catamarans to run between Juneau and Sitka and Prince William Sound.

A contract is expected to be awarded in December following a bidding process, Grasser said.

This is the second time the state has attempted to issue the fast ferry construction project.

Last April, the state rejected a $36 million bid from a Washington company to build one boat. It was the only bid.

The state Department of Transportation issued a new request in June for two ferries with an option to build two more. Currently, funding is available for only one boat.

The high speed ferries will be capable of speeds of up to 32 knots and carry up to 250 passengers.

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