- Associated Press - Monday, March 13, 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The state of Alaska will sell a ferry that it says it no longer can afford to maintain and operate.

The minimum bid price for the Taku will be $1.5 million, and sealed bids are due by May 9, the state transportation department said in a news release.

The Taku, which is at a mooring facility at Ketchikan, will be sold as is to the highest bidder, the department said. It previously offered to give the vessel to other state agencies or to local governments but had no takers.

The ship, built in 1963, was taken out of service in 2015. The department said the Taku is considered to be in excess of the needs of the state and too expensive to maintain and run with available funding.

If the bids received are below the $1.5 million minimum, the sale will be canceled and officials will evaluate how to proceed, department spokeswoman Meadow Bailey said by email Monday.

Other options might include lowering the minimum bid, selling it for scrap metal or selling it through another type of auction, she said.

In 2003, another state ferry, the Bartlett, was sold on eBay for $389,500, Bailey said.

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