September 24, 2004
While underway at top speed with a medivac en route to Ketchikan, the turbo exhaust gas temperature alarm on the Lituya's starboard main engine sounded and the engine automatically shut down. The vessel's crew found a smoldering air intake filter, removed it, and notified the US Coast Guard marine safety office in Ketchikan. A Caterpillar engine technician will be in Ketchikan Friday to inspect the engine and determine what corrective measures or repairs need to be made. The vessel will remain out of service until the Caterpillar representative certifies the engine to return to service.
"We appreciate the quick action of the crew onboard in their response to the problem," said Tom Briggs, deputy commissioner for marine transportation. "Their attention to the safety of the passengers and their efficiency in preventing a fire is to be commended. We expect the Cat technician to be able to inspect the engine Friday morning, and are hopeful the vessel will be able to return to its schedule as soon as possible."
Briggs noted that this is the first time since the Lituya started service on May 1, 2004 that the vessel has missed a sailing. Home-ported in Metlakatla, the ferry normally makes five round-trips to Ketchikan, Wednesday through Sunday, each week. The *Lituya *was designed by Coastwise Corporation of Juneau in 2001, built by Conrad Shipyards in Morgan City, Louisiana, and was launched in April of 2004. The $9.5 million, 180-foot, roll on/roll off steel ferry accommodates 18 cars and 150 passengers with an average speed of 10-12 knots.
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