Vessel Information
Vessel: COLUMBIA VIN: 557340 Flag: United States Call-Sign: WYR2092 Year Built: 1974 Service: Passenger Length: 418 ft Breadth: 85.1ft Depth: 24.0
Gross Tonnage(GRT):3946.0 Net Tonnage(NRT):2683.0 Gross Tonnage(GT ITC):130009.0

The Columbia docked at Bellingham.  Photo courtesy of Matt Masuoka.

The M/V
Columbia is a mainline ferry vessel for the Alaska Marine Highway System.  Constructed in 1974 by Lockheed Shipbuilding in Seattle,
Washington, the M/V
Columbia has been the flagship vessel for the Alaska ferry system for over 36 years. As a mainline ferry, which means it serves the
largest of the inside passage communities (such as Ketchikan, Wrangell, Alaska Petersburg, Juneau, Haines, Alaska, Skagway, Alaska and Sitka), its route
spans the entirety of the inside passage, often beginning runs in Bellingham, Washington and running to the northernmost Alaskan Panhandle community of
Skagway stopping in communities along the way, during the summer season (winter services are operated by the MV

Columbia has an upper deck between the main vehicle deck and the cabin deck with additional vehicle stowage accessed by two vehicle elevators
capable of hoisting 19 foot vehicles with their passengers, and additional passenger cabins.  On July 2, 2006, an auxiliary engine room fire broke out on the
Columbia temporarily impairing steering and propulsion on its northbound voyage from Bellingham in Seymour Narrows in Canadian waters. The ship motored
to Duncan Bay, British Columbia for damage assessment before continuing on to Ketchikan's Alaska Ship & Dry Dock for more extensive repairs.  Early on 15
August 2007, only two months before a scheduled overhaul, position number two connecting rod in the
Columbia's starboard engine experienced a bearing
failure. To prevent catastrophic damage to the surrounding components the engine was secured. The 268 passengers were rerouted, and it was sent to
Ketchikan, where it was originally planned to be repaired within the week. Soon it became apparent that it would require further work, and in a controversial
decision the Marine Highway System chose to cancel all further summer voyages on the ship pending repairs. Nearly all the other ships in the fleet were
rerouted to make up for the loss , and many passengers were urged to seek alternative travel means to help ease the pressure on the system.

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