The M/V Columbia experienced a malfunction in one of its four generators that resulted in a fire while it was transiting Seymour Narrows 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 the mCanadian Transport Safety Board cleared
the ship to proceed to Ketchikan. The ship left Duncan Bay under
full power at about 8 a.m. Saturday and is expected to arrive in Ketchikan at about 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Passengers were given the ‘all clear’ signal over the intercom within two minutes of an alarm sounding and were kept informed through periodic updates through the night, said AMHS General Manager John Falvey.
The Columbia is carrying 380 passengers and 100 vehicles on its run from Bellingham, Wash., to Skagway. It left Bellingham at 6 p.m. Friday. The U.S. Coast Guard will inspect the ship during its scheduled stop in Ketchikan and determine whether it can proceed to its next destination.
The Alaska Marine Highway System is developing a repair schedule to respond to the generator malfunction and is activating additional shore-side crew for passengers in case their travel plans are altered.
AMHS management is also tracking available space on other AMHS ferries in the area to accommodate travelers in case the Columbia must
undergo immediate repairs in Ketchikan.
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.