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Alaska ferry system returning to normal as the MV Columbia arrives in Bellingham

Alaska ferry returns to Bellingham for first time since strike ends

The Alaska ferry docked in Bellingham, Wash, on Friday morning, Aug. 9, 2019, for the first time since the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific went on strike on July 24. The strike ended Aug. 2.
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The Alaska ferry docked in Bellingham, Wash, on Friday morning, Aug. 9, 2019, for the first time since the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific went on strike on July 24. The strike ended Aug. 2.

After a three-week hiatus, an Alaska ferry arrived at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal on Friday, Aug. 9.

The MV Columbia made its regular stop in Fairhaven at 8 a.m. and began preparations to take passengers up north. It’s the first trip since the nine-day strike ended on Aug. 2. That’s when the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific and the state of Alaska reached a three-year contract agreement.

During the strike, the Alaska Marine Highway System refunded fares for 8,570 passengers and 2,468 vehicles. The refund values totaled $3.3 million, according to a news release from the agency.

The Columbia will have seven more Friday sailings into Bellingham through September before it is expected to be docked for the winter. The MV Kennicott will continue its every-other-Saturday sailings into Bellingham through September. In October, the ferry system is expected to switch over to its winter schedule, using the MV Matanuska for the Bellingham route.

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Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.
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