Yesterday Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell announced the selection of Vigor Alaska to build the state’s two newest day ferries. The two ferries, owned and operated by Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS), will be built by Alaskans for Alaska to serve citizens along the Lynn Canal route between Juneau, Haines and Skagway.

“This project represents far more than a contract,” said Adam Beck, president of Vigor Alaska. “It is a dramatic step forward in realizing the shared goal of the people of Alaska, its elected officials and the shipyard to keep taxpayer dollars in the state and support family-wage jobs. The Vigor Alaska team represents the best shipbuilders in the state with the expertise to build complex vessels and the dedication to do it to the highest quality standards.”

The two day ferries will cost $101 million to construct, which is a reduction in the original price. Because of the importance of keeping Alaskan dollars in the state, Vigor Alaska made significant cuts to the initial estimates for the project and, in fact, delivered a price that was below the independent government price estimate.

Strengthening Alaska’s maritime sector has been a significant focus for the state. In the last decade, investments through AIDEA have transformed the Ketchikan shipyard into a state-of-the-art, world-class shipbuilding facility. “Here we are today to launch this shipyard to a new level, a new level of good jobs, a new level of growth for Ketchikan businesses that are going to supply the shipyard and its workers,” said Governor Parnell. “Today we effectively put Ketchikan and this shipyard on the map as a major maritime industry competitor.”

The Ketchikan yard features a 130,000 sq. ft. ship production facility designed from the ground up to build ships upwards of 500' in length. It includes an adjacent five story production center to minimize material flow and maximize efficiency.

“I’ve lived in Ketchikan all my life,” said shipyard worker Norm Skan. “It’s such an honor to be building the first ever ferry built in the state for AMHS. We’re going to knock it out of the park.”

Construction of both vessels is scheduled to begin in October 2014 and will take approximately four years to complete. The design and estimating process was a true collaboration between Vigor Alaska, Alaska Department of Transportation and, Alaska Marine Highway System and Elliott Bay Design Group.

Vigor CEO Frank Foti captured today’s excitement in his remarks “It’s fitting and downright awesome that the Vigor Alaska’s workers will be stamping ‘MADE IN ALASKA’ on new ferry construction.”


Vessel type: Roll on-Roll off passenger ferry
Overall length: 280'
Passenger capacity: 450 (interior seating for 300 passengers)
Vehicle capacity: 48-60 plus
Cruise speed: 18 knots (20 knot sprint speed)
Operation: Day boat operations