LOWER TOWNSHIP — A ferry that just had new engines installed broke down this week, forcing the Cape May-Lewes Ferry to cut some scheduled trips across the Delaware Bay during its second-busiest month of the year.
The Delaware River & Bay Authority said it is hoping to fix the MV Delaware this week. In the meantime, it has alerted passengers who have reservations and is operating on a reduced schedule with its other two vessels, the MV Cape Henlopen and the MV New Jersey.
The MV Delaware received a $3.5 million upgrade and returned to service in May.
DRBA Director of Ferry Operations Heath Gehrke said the boat was taken out of service for crankshaft repairs to one of its main engines. It is expected to be out of commission for several days, he said.
Mechanics from the engine manufacturer are working on repairs with the ferry’s engineers, he said. The engines are under warranty.
Chief Engineer Nesmond King noticed a vibration in the engine and alerted the ferry’s port engineer, which might have prevented further engine damage, he said.
The ferry provides year-round service — hourly in the summer — across the 17 miles between Cape May in New Jersey and Delaware’s Cape Henlopen. Each ferry can carry about 100 cars or trucks along with pedestrians and bicyclists.
July and August are the ferry’s busiest months, during which it carries 145,000 to 165,000 passengers and more than 45,000 vehicles each month.