The Princess of Acadia ferry, which runs between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, has cancelled its Thursday afternoon run after the ship ran aground off Digby earlier in the day.

Mark MacDonald, president and CEO of Bay Ferries Ltd., said the ferry left Saint John on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. and did not experience any problems.

MacDonald said approximately three hours later, the ferry had almost arrived at the terminal in Digby when it lost power, causing it to drift. The vessel ran aground about 200 metres from the dock.

He said there is no visible damage to the hull above the waterline but divers were expected to inspect the passenger and car ferry.

The 146-metre vessel regained power and after an underwater inspection of the stern area to make sure there was no damage, the vessel was moved to the dock and tied down at around 2 p.m.

Witnesses at the scene said they could hear the ferry hitting bottom.

"Safety is job one at Bay Ferries and we will undertake a rigorous analysis of the cause of this incident to prevent recurrence," MacDonald said in a statement.

All 59 passengers plus crew are safe, said MacDonald. The passengers will be offered refunds for the trip and a decision on Friday morning's crossing between Saint John and Digby is expected to be made later on Thursday.

MacDonald said the company will co-operate with the investigation by regulatory authorities.