State Wants Court to Force Ferry Builder to Replace Engines

Alaska’s Marine Highway System wants a court to order the fast-ferry builder to provide new engines for the ships. State officials say engines on the Fairweather and Chenega are wearing out far faster than their warranties promised. Replacing the eight engines could cost in the range of $20 million. The state filed a lawsuit last year, but continued talking to the manufacturer about a solution. Captain Mike Neussl says the state is now asking the court for a preliminary injunction to force action before the engines wear out.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.