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It could be a sign of the future — at least for the smaller players in the Ketchikan cruise industry.
UnCruise Adventures, a small-ship cruise line operating in the Ketchikan area, will be the first to take advantage of a new loan program for repairs at Ketchikan Shipyard.
The shipyard owner, Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, created the program in June.
The program is designed to increase the competitiveness of Alaska shipyards.
UnCruise applied for four loans under the Alaska Ship Home-porting for Improvements Program. It is receiving $3.6 million.
The Alaska owned business’ Wilderness Adventurer, Wilderness Explorer and Legacy will be worked on at the shipyard.
The ships range in length from 145 feet to 186 feet.
The shipyard has come a long way, and the journey has had its ups and downs. It has built and repaired ships. It has struggled for work, and it has enjoyed success.
Its operator, Vigor Alaska, recently changed hands, becoming the domain of an investment firm.
Such change can be unsettling to a community in its own economic confusion. But the announcement of work at the shipyard not only helps to bring the future into focus, but it also shows a potential path for Vigor locally in the small-ship cruise industry.
Ketchikan Shipyard can build on the UnCruise success.