Someone may want to buy the ferry Taku, but they need more time

The ferry Taku sails into the Wrangell Narrows on its way south in 2014. It’s since been pulled out of service and is being stored until it can be sold. (Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News – Juneau)

Update, July 12, 2017, 10:30 a.m.: Alaska Marine Highway officials are extending the final bid deadline for the ferry Taku another three weeks.

Spokeswoman Meadow Bailey says it’s because an interested buyer wants to tour the 54-year-old ship.

Bids were originally due by July 7. Officials pushed that back a week and a half on Monday. Now, bids aren’t due until Aug. 8.

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Someone is interested in buying the retired ferry Taku.

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As a result, the Alaska Marine Highway System is giving interested parties an extra week and a half to submit bids.

The 54-year-old ship has been out of service for two years. It’s been put out to bid twice before, first at $1.5 million, then at $700,000.

But no offers were made.

The latest attempt, advertised June 19, listed no minimum price. Bids were scheduled to be opened July 7. That deadline was then extended until July 18.

Ferry spokeswoman Meadow Bailey said the new deadline came at the request of an interested party.

“Obviously, there is not a huge rush on this,” Bailey said. “We have been working with the Taku for several months now. So we were happy to fulfill that request.”

Bailey said the marine highway is not identifying the interested party or parties.

The Taku was tied up in 2015 to save money.

It worked, but needed minor repairs and certifications required for all passenger ships.

It’s been moored at Ketchikan’s Ward Cove since then.

The Taku sailed mostly Southeast routes. It’s about 350 feet long. It can carry up to 50 vehicles and 350 passengers. It has 40 staterooms, a cafeteria, observation lounges and a covered solarium.

If it can’t be sold, it could be scrapped.

Editor’s note: This report was updated with information about a second extension of the bid deadline.