A Japanese ferry carrying 490 passengers went adrift Sunday after its engine broke down in waters off Akita Prefecture, the Japan Coast Guard said.

The 17,329-ton Suisen, which was heading south from Tomakomai in Hokkaido to Tsuruga in Fukui Prefecture, was also transporting 159 passenger cars and 94 trucks.

The ferry belongs to ShinNihonkai Ferry Co., based in Otaru, Hokkaido.

The ship’s engine stopped working about 55 km off Nyudozaki on the Oga Peninsula in Akita around 7:30 a.m., the coast guard said.

Crew members are trying to fix a cooling water pump which seems to be the culprit, and once it is repaired the ship will continue on its route, it added.

But as a precaution, the coast guard has sent three patrol ships in case the vessel needs to be tugged to a nearby port in Akita.

The ferry departed Tomakomai at 11:50 p.m. Saturday and was expected to arrive in Tsuruga at 8:15 p.m. Sunday.

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