After 50 years of service, Alaska is saying goodbye to one of its state ferries.

The state has sold the Taku to a Dubai-based company for $171,000. The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities sealed the deal Friday morning with Jabal Al Lawz Trading Est.

According to Aurah Landau, a DOTPF spokesperson, the ferry is expected to leave Ketchikan within the next month.

But before the Taku goes, Landau says the state is asking Alaskans to share their stories from aboard the ship.

"What we're really documenting is the way that people live life in rural Alaska -- this is so unique, that the way we travel between communities is by boat," Landau said. "These boats are the lifeblood of the communities, and those stories are precious stories about the way we live. People moved to Alaska on the Taku, generations grew up with the Taku coming to the community, their village, basketball teams traveled on it: it is absolutely a part of the fabric of life in Alaska."

The Taku was taken out of service in 2015, after it was determined to be in excess of state needs for ferry service and outside of the realm of what the state could afford to maintain and operate.

The state had initially sought $1.5 million for the Taku, but sharply slashed its price due to lack of bids. A Portland-based company was slated to pay $300,000 for the former Alaska Marine Highway System vessel, but backed out of the deal last month. 

Landau says $171,000 for the ship is still a good price for the state.

"It’s the highest price that has been offered and received throughout months of trying to sell the Taku," Landau said. "Combine that with over $500,000 in value of materials that came off of the ship before it was sold, things like fire and safety equipment, and the state does get a decent value for the ship."

The state is asking anyone with stories or pictures from aboard the Taku to send them to dot.ask@alaska.gov.

Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.

RELATED STORIES:

Alaska officials lower price for tied-up ferry

Ferry Susitna may have a new home