The investigation into what caused the ferry Matanuska to run into a dock in Petersburg will likely focus on tidal conditions at the time of the crash, among other factors.
According to the Alaska Department of Transportation, the vessel was maneuvering into port shortly before high tide, a time when there are strong currents.
“That has been mentioned, however it’s one of those things that will come out once the investigation is fully completed,” said DOT spokesman Jeremy Woodrow.
None of the 60 passengers or crew aboard and no one on shore was injured when the Matanuska slammed head-on into a dock belonging to Ocean Beauty, a Petersburg seafood processor, around 1 pm Monday.
“This is an unfortunate accident for everyone involved,” said DOT Deputy Commissioner for Marine Operations Michael Neussl. “We apologize to Ocean Beauty Seafoods for any disruption this may cause to their operations.”
Within hours of the collision, the vessel was inspected by the Coast Guard, determined to have no significant damage, and cleared to continue on its journey. It arrived in Prince Rupert, B.C. just 30 minutes behind schedule, Woodrow said.
According to Woodrow, the vessel’s crew underwent drug testing following the crash.
“That’s just standard procedure,” he said.
Milinda May, a Petersburg resident who has travelled on the Matanuska many times, and who was aboard yesterday during the collision, said it seemed like they were "coming in fast.”
“There was no indications whatsoever of slowing down or anything like that, or trying to go in reverse to avoid the collision,” she said.
May was just returning from a vacation to Juneau with her husband and 3 kids.
“This trip was supposed to be a de-stress trip,” she said, “and we get the biggest impact coming home.”
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