The ferry Malaspina awaits passengers at Juneau’s Auke Bay ferry terminal. Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska.

The Alaska Marine Highway System is canceling ferry service to Prince Rupert for two months. The ferry, Malaspina, is out of operation due to needed repairs, which is affecting the ferry schedule. 

Marine highway officials say the Malaspina needs more repairs than expected.

It was brought in for its annual overhaul and certification in October. The vessel was set to be back in service by late December. But it needs extensive steel replacement and work to both propeller hubs. Now it is scheduled to get back on its route in late spring.

Limited ferry service will be offered for two months starting Dec. 22. Southeast Alaska communities will see one ferry a week and sailings to and from Prince Rupert will be canceled.

Aurah Landau is a spokeswoman for the Alaska Marine Highway.

“The Marine Highway System is contacting all affected passengers, and folks who are traveling to Prince Rupert will have the option to go to Bellingham instead,” Landau says.

Bellingham and Price Rupert are the marine highway’s two ports that directly connect to the Lower 48’s highway system. Rupert is in British Columbia, making it the closer option to get to mainland roads. Bellingham is in Washington.

Landau says the ferries Columbia and LeConte will cover much of the Malaspina’s route.

 “The marine highway rescheduled service to maximize the port calls with all available vessels,” she says.

Also currently in repairs, the Kennicott will be back in late February. Then service will resume as normal.