State looking to sell two ferries

Alaska plans to sell two of its fast ferries as part of cost-saving measures.

The Juneau Empire reported Wednesday that the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities intends to sell the F/V Fairweather and the F/V Chenega in the coming months.

A department official says ferry staff will be reassigned without any expected job losses, although they will technically be laid off this month in accordance with union contracts.

Officials say the state will begin operating at least one new ship this year, the F/V Tazlina, and expect to save about $400,000 in fuel costs by retiring the 15-year-old Fairweather.

The newspaper reports the Alaska Marine Highway System would have shut down last year without an emergency funding bill passed by the Legislature.