JUNEAU (AP) The state ferry Taku is out of commission after its shaft clutch assembly failed when the ship tried to leave the Auke Bay terminal Thursday morning.
Another Alaska Marine Highway vessel also is out of service after mechanical problems. The Tustumena will be out of service Wednesday through Friday of next week for repairs to its vehicle elevator, forcing the cancellation of a round trip scheduled those days between Seward and Valdez.
The 352-foot Taku is out of service until further notice.
No one was hurt on the Taku and Alaska Marine Highway System engineers are investigating what went wrong, said system Capt. Jack Meyers.
The ferry was to leave Juneau early Thursday for Haines and Skagway and return to Juneau on Thursday night.
Alaska Marine Highway officials ordered a new shaft clutch assembly Thursday from a Midwest company. The company also is sending a technical representative.
Meyers hopes the parts and the representative will arrive Friday.
''We're hoping it takes less than 24 hours to fix once the parts arrive and the technical representative arrives to assist in the repair,'' Meyers said.
The car deck of the Taku was ''basically full'' Thursday, said Barbara Fairbanks, traffic manager of the marine highway system. Neither she nor Meyers knew the exact number of passengers and vehicles aboard the ferry.
Taku passengers continuing north were allowed to stay on board the ship Thursday night, Meyers said.
A catamaran from Allen Marine Tours transported 40 stranded Taku passengers to Skagway, said division manager Jim Collins said.
The mechanical failures come after two other recent problems. A generator on the Columbia caught fire May 28 as the ship sailed from Petersburg to Wrangell. The Kennicott hit a rock June 3 outside of Wrangell.
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