KETCHIKAN (AP) -- The Inter-Island Ferry Authority's new vessel was down for repair most of this week while awaiting spare filters for its variable pitch control system.
Capt. Jim MacComas said he realized the ferry Prince of Wales had a problem shortly after departing Ketchikan on Monday and the vessel returned to port.
The vessel's builder, Dakota Creek Shipyards of Anacortes, Wash., was delivering the filters to Ketchikan and the ship was expected to return to service sometime Thursday, said IFA Operations Manager Stu Vincent.
He said technical problems can be normal in the early days of a new transportation system but the spare filters should have been in stock.
The Inter-Island Ferry Authority was formed by six Southeast communities to fill gaps in the schedule of the Alaska Marine Highway System.
The 196-foot Prince of Wales made its first trips between Ketchikan and Hollis on Jan. 13. Hollis is on Prince of Wales Island.
Vincent said ferry officials are happy with the performance of the Prince of Wales so far. ''We haven't had the really bad weather to put it to the test,'' he said.
Passenger numbers have been higher than planners estimated, he said.
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