ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Marine Atlantic says repair work to the ferry Blue Puttees is ahead of schedule and the vessel will likely return to service earlier than first thought.

The service which runs between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia says it anticipates the ferry will be ready to sail during the middle of next week.

The ferry is in drydock in Halifax were its damaged bow is being repaired.

The Blue Puttees struck a wharf and ran aground in thick fog July 31 while leaving Port aux Basques in southwestern Newfoundland for Cape Breton.

Hundreds of travellers were stranded for several hours waiting for high tide to help move the ferry off the wharf so it could sail back to the main dock.

Marine Atlantic says an exact date for the ferry's return will be determined soon and it's service originating in Argentia will resume when the ferry is running again.