Ferries Sent Out to Sea as Precaution

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

The Alaska Marine Highway System sent two ferries out to sea this morning to avoid high waves expected from the earthquake in Japan.

The small ferry Lituya left its dock in Metlakatla, in southern Southeast. And the fast ferry Chenega headed out from the Cordova terminal into Prince William Sound.

Marine Highway Chief Capt. Mike Neussl says the small ferries were in what were considered to be high-threat areas.

The ships were back in port in time for their scheduled morning sailings.

The only other ferry impact was on the Kennicott. Its Bellingham, Washington, arrival was delayed an hour and a half because the port was closed, also as a precaution.

No tsunami damage was reported at any marine highway terminal. The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center says waves that did reach ferry ports were less than a foot tall. The exception was 1.3 feet at Dutch Harbor.

Airfields were also impacted by the quake. Sitka’s Rocky Gutierrez Airport shut down power for a few hours due to concerns that waves might hit generators. One scheduled flight was delayed an hour. And three passenger jets were diverted to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to avoid landing in Japan.

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