Marine Log

July 3, 2006

Ferry in Ketchikan following generator fire

The Alaska Marine Highway System's M/V Columbia is in Ketchikan, Alaska, awaiting repairs, the Alaska Marine Highway System said Sunday.

A malfunction in one of the vessel's four generators resulted in a fire while it was transiting Seymour Narrows at about 3 a.m. on Saturday causing the ship to lose power to one of its two engines.

The Columbia was escorted to Duncan Bay by a tug and crews ran assessments of its operating systems before Transport Canada cleared the ship to proceed to Ketchikan. The ship left Duncan Bay under full power at about 8 a.m. Saturday.

The Columbia is carrying 380 passengers and 100 vehiclesIt is unclear how long it will take to make the necessary repairs to the Columbia, but the AMHS says it has activated shore-side support staff to accommodate the travel plans of its passengers.

"The safety and comfort of our customers are our primary concern right now and we are going to do everything possible to give these folks options to get them where they need to go," said Capt. John Falvey, AMHS General Manager. "We have ships going north and south all week and so we hope the disruption in their travel plans is only temporary."

AMHS staff are providing meals and lodging aboard the Columbia while passengers wait for alternate sailings out of Ketchikan. Several passengers and vehicles boarded the M/V Taku on its sailing to Prince Rupert, B.C., on Sunday. More passengers were expected to leave as AMHS ships arrived in Ketchikan during their scheduled stops.

The Columbia is a mainline ferry with capacity to carry 499 passengers and 134 vehicles. It has been in the AMHS fleet since 1974. It underwent a 6-week scheduled overhaul in March 2006.