One of four engines on the new fast ferry Fairweather has broken down due to faulty construction and must be replaced, according to the state ferry system.
Department of Transportation spokesman John Manly said the vessel can still operate on its three working engines, but its scheduled trips to Skagway, Haines and Sitka will be dependent on tides and winds. Sailings to Sitka are dependent on tidal currents under 312 knots in Sergius Narrows. Trips to Skagway will be canceled if winds are more than 25 knots.
The Alaska Marine Highway System said Thursday that improperly installed parts in the exhaust manifold worked loose and rubbed a hole in the engine block to the ship, allowing water into the exhaust system.
"The engine manufacturer is currently searching for a new engine to replace the number one engine, which has been damaged by loose parts caused during assembly," ferry system manager John Falvey said in a prepared statement. "Our hope is that the engine will be located and available for installing when the Fairweather is in for scheduled maintenance in mid-October."
Representatives from the German engine manufacturer will inspect the three other engines within the next few days to see if the same problem is present in other areas of the ship.
The transportation department said the ship still is under warranty and will be paid for by the manufacturer. Travelers should contact their local ferry terminal operators for schedule changes.
Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at email@example.com.