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Sunday, November 19 2017 @ 03:14 AM AKST

Susitna Repairs Await Amended Contract

EconomyPatty Sullivan, MSB

Last night, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly voted to wait for a signed, amended contract with the buyer of the Susitna Ferry before authorizing the vessel’s engine repair work. Mayor Vern Halter broke the tie vote and chose to wait for agreement from the buyer on extending the date for delivery of the ship.

The Susitna arrived in Seattle this morning, (Feb. 24) after a tug began towing it last week from Ward Cove, near Ketchikan.

Since Sept. 1, 2015, the Borough has held a contract with the Philippine Red Cross to sell the ship for $1.75 million. The agreed upon delivery date was March 31. Rainwater damage to engines on the Susitna has prevented that delivery. The new date would be by June 30. Repair work is expected to be completed by May 30.

The Borough’s insurance company has said that all four engines need to be repaired for a cost of some $3 million. The Borough does not yet know the amount the insurance company will reimburse. That amount will be learned when the engines are opened and examined.

The Philippine Red Cross has said the ship will do humanitarian work in the disaster-prone Philippine Islands, delivering food and medical aid to some of the 7,107 islands that may be hit during the annual hurricane season.

The buyer’s representative, Lew Madden, said the Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, Richard Gordon, is still very committed to buying the ship, despite the delay. However, Madden wrote that because of the participation of the International Red Cross as well as the Japanese, United Kingdom, and German Red Cross organizations, Chairman Gordon felt it necessary to get the approval of the Board of the Red Cross. The Board meets on Feb. 29 in the Philippines, which is Sunday night here.

The Assembly will consider the repair authorization again on March 1.

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