A technical problem with an engine is disrupting The Cat ferry services between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Bay Ferries Ltd., operators of the ferry, canceled the round-trip sailing for Sunday. The company said other disruptions could take place.

The problem, which was detected last week, has resulted in a slightly longer transit time, which is normally 5½ hours.

Customers will be directly contacted by Bay Ferries about cancellations.

The company said a “technical issue” that arose with one of the four main engines on The Cat is under investigation by the company and its engine manufacturers.

General manager Jim Wilson said about 150 vehicles and about 400 passengers are affected by Sunday’s service cancellation.

Wilson said the company has pinpointed the problem and is working to find out how long it will take to fix it. He said it did not help that the engine developed problems heading into Canada Day on Saturday and Independence Day on Tuesday.

“We are focused on getting it fixed as quickly as possible,” he said.

He said Sunday’s service was canceled so the company could adhere to crew rest requirements.

The Cat can carry about 700 passengers and 200 passenger vehicles.

Bay Ferries Ltd., based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, has been operating the ferry service between Maine and Nova Scotia for the past year. It received a $10.2 million (Canadian) subsidy from the Nova Scotia government to operate the service, which has experienced declines in ridership for the past decade.

Bay Ferries took over the route after Nova Scotia terminated an agreement with Nova Star Cruises, which operated the service for two seasons with about $42.5 million from the Nova Scotia government. The Nova Star ship took almost twice as long as The Cat to make the crossing.

Bay Ferries ran the ferry service from 2004 until 2010.

Scotia Prince Cruises operated it for 30 years before Bay Ferries.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: bquimby