Kiwirail stops taking bookings for Interislander services after Aratere ferry's propeller loss

Interisland ferry the Aratere. Photo / File / Ross Setford
Interisland ferry the Aratere. Photo / File / Ross Setford

KiwiRail has has stopped taking bookings for all its Interislander ferries after the trouble-plagued Aratere lost a propeller during a Cook Strait crossing.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission is investigating after the incident took the ferry out of accident on Tuesday night.

Interislander General Manager Thomas Davis said the company was continuing to contact customers who were booked on the ferry in the next few days to accommodate them on other sailings.

"We have closed our system for future bookings, but expect to be able to re-open it again early next week once a new timetable is in place.''

Mr Davis said NZ Dive and Salvage would survey the area where the propeller was lost tomorrow.

"And if this is successful we will then examine our options of retrieving it.

"We are still in the process of going through all the options for the ship's repair, acquiring alternative ships and all the ship and timetable options available to us.''

The Aratere recently underwent a $54 million revamp, but has been plagued with problems in recent years.

In January, a computer issue affecting the propulsion took it out of action, and engine problems put a stop to passenger sailings for more than a week in 2011.

- APNZ

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