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KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The state ferry Columbia is set to return to regular service with a northbound departure from Ketchikan at 9 a.m. Sunday.
The 418-foot ferry experienced an engine failure Tuesday night in Peril Strait, according to Alaska Marine Highway System information. The Columbia was able to travel to Juneau, where it was met on Thursday by an engine manufacturer technician.
The technician successfully completed temporary repairs, and the U.S. Coast Guard cleared the vessel to sail, according to AMHS spokesperson Aurah Landau.
“AMHS has scheduled the vessel to leave Juneau to arrive in Ketchikan on the morning of Saturday, May 11, after the (Malaspina) has left port,” Landau wrote in an email to the Daily News.
Columbia passengers who had been traveling to Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan were rescheduled to travel aboard the Malaspina, which departed Juneau on Thursday morning. Other Columbia passengers traveled north to Haines or Skagway aboard the state ferry Tazlina.
“The passengers and vehicles remaining aboard the Columbia from the engine issue will stay aboard through the vessel's return to Bellingham on Friday, May 17,” Landau wrote.
The repair to the Columbia was temporary. The AMHS information did not provide a description of the mechanical issue.
However, “the Columbia will require further repairs when parts are available, likely this summer,” Landau wrote.
Landau earlier had noted 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.