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5/9/2019
Mechanical issue sidelines AMHS ferry Columbia

KETCHIKAN (KDN) —  The state ferry Columbia was awaiting repair in Juneau on Thursday after an engine failure that occurred Tuesday night in Peril Strait, according to the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Columbia passengers who had been traveling to Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan were rescheduled to travel aboard the state ferry Malaspina, which departed Juneau on Thursday morning. Others traveled north to Haines or Skagway aboard the state ferry Tazlina.

A technician arrived in Juneau on Thursday.

“AMHS is awaiting parts and the repair outcome,” AMHS spokesperson Aurah Landau wrote in an email to the Daily News. “Should we get the ship fixed in a short period of time, resume the schedule at some point, and have space available, the remaining passengers can ride through to Bellingham.

The 418-foot Columbia was sailing southbound in Peril Strait from Sitka to Peterburg on Tuesday night when a failure in an engine occurred, according to Landau.

“AMHS crew shut the engine off and the decision was made to return to Juneau — it's easier to make repairs in Juneau and passengers could coordinate travel on the Malaspina,” Landau wrote.

Landau added that the mechanical issue was not a recurring problem.

“The Columbia was dry docked last winter for eight weeks of routine maintenance, the engine was not an issue at that time,” she wrote.