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Ferry Tustumena to Undergo Emergency Repairs

(JUNEAU Alaska) - The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) is dispatching the ferry Tustumena to Ketchikan where shipyard workers will begin emergency procedures to investigate and resolve a possible structural deficiency that is allowing sea water to leak into one of the 46-year-old ship's fuel tanks.

Engineers aboard the 296-foot Tustumena discovered about 50 to 60 gallons of water in the ship's number three tank while the ship and its crew were providing service to Southwestern Alaska communities. Following the discovery, the crew notified the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard inspectors and commercial divers tried to determine the water's entry point, but could not find any definitive damage. AMHS has confirmed that there has been no fuel leaking into the water.

The Tustumena is scheduled to depart Homer later today and sail to Ketchikan. AMHS expects the ship to arrive Saturday when the Tustumena will be placed in the dry dock at the Alaska Ship and Drydock facility.

"We are very proud of the working relationship we have fostered with the professionals at ASD, and we appreciate their ability to alter plans and schedules and accommodate our needs on such short notice," said Capt. John Falvey, General Manger, AMHS.

The AMHS has scheduled the ferry Kennicott and its crew to provide substitute service while Tustumena is being repaired.

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