VICTORIA - A B.C. ferry is expected to return to service only a day after it was removed from a popular route between Vancouver Island and the mainland because of a fire.

BC Ferries announced Tuesday night that the Queen of New Westminster is expected to sail between Tsawwassen, B.C. and Nanaimo's Duke Point at 5:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, BC Ferry spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said the fire occurred in a bow thruster compartment during a Tuesday-morning sailing, and the vessel returned to dock after the fire was extinguished.

Two crew members suffered smoke inhalation but no passengers were injured, she said.

The ferry service said workers will repair the vessel overnight, replacing insulation and a fire-detector sensor head, before conducting safety tests, trials and inspections.

The Queen of New Westminster — which was built in 1964 — was previously taken out of service during the May long weekend when it had problems with a rudder and a cooling system.

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