The Tustumena at the dock in False Pass, Alaska
|Namesake:||Tustumena Glacier in the Kenai Peninsula|
|Owner:||Alaska Marine Highway System|
|Port of registry:||United States|
|Status:||in active service, as of 2013[update]|
|Displacement:||3,067 long tons (3,116 t)|
|Length:||296 ft (90 m)|
|Beam:||56 ft (17 m)|
|Draft:||14 ft 4.5 in (4.382 m)|
|Decks:||One vehicle deck|
|Ramps:||Aft port and aft starboard ro-ro loading|
|Installed power:||5,100 hp (3,803 kW)|
|Speed:||13.85 knots (25.65 km/h; 15.94 mph)|
Tustumena was constructed in 1963 in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and refurbished in 1969 in San Francisco. As the only mainline ferry in South-central Alaska and the Aleutian Chain, it principally runs between Kodiak, Seldovia, Port Lions, and Homer with Homer providing a road link to the other communities on the Kenai Peninsula. The only interruptions from this schedule occur when making a voyage out the Aleutian Chain (the Aleutian Chain run consists of the communities of Akutan, Chignik, Cold Bay, False Pass, King Cove, Sand Point, and Unalaska/Dutch Harbor) which the vessel undergoes eight times a year all of which occur during the summer as winter weather becomes too dangerous.
Because of the exposed and unstable parts of Alaska it plies, the Tustumena is an accredited ocean-going vessel, a quality it shares exclusively with the Kennicott. As such, the Tustumena is replaced by the M/V Kennicott when it undergoes annual maintenance.
The Tustumena is the smallest AMHS vessel to have cabins. The Tustumena's amenities include a full service dining room; cocktail lounge and bar; solarium; forward, aft, movie, and business lounges; eight four-berth cabins and 18 two-berth cabins. The large black structure on the aft portion of the vessel is a car elevator. It is used in all communities where there is not a dedicated ramp loading directly into the car deck. While the car elevator for the Tustumena is exposed on the exterior, the Kennicott car elevator is located inside the vessel.
In the fall of 2012, "Tustumena" went into scheduled maintenance at the dry-docks of Seward Alaska. Several found issues pushed her return from service from the original May 29th to a planned July 23rd, leaving the state without a ship available to do her run. Given the age of the vessel, and her extended time in dry-dock, the State is looking to find or build a replacement vessel, with design work to start in the fall of 2013 and construction of a replacement to begin as early as 2015.