Monday’s announcement by Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell that Vigor Alaska was chosen to build two new ferries for the Alaska Marine Highway System was not a shocker. The Ketchikan shipyard has been in the driver’s seat from the beginning of this project as the state clearly wanted the boat(s) built in Alaska. When the state put out its official RFP earlier this year, Vigor Alaska, by agreement, was the only yard to receive it. If their price exceeded the state’s cost estimates, other, non-Alaska shipyards would have had a shot at the job.
With a degree in English literature from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), journalism experience at the once-upon-a-time Seattle P-I, and at-sea experience as a commercial fisherman in Washington and Alaska, Bruce Buls has forged a career in commercial marine trade journalism, including stints at Alaska Fishermen’s Journal and National Fisherman, WorkBoat’s sister publications. Bruce spent 16 years as WorkBoat's technical editor before retiring in May 2015. He lives on Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island, about 20 miles north of Seattle (go 'Hawks!).