Interislander deny Peters' claims

By Brendan Manning

The Interislander ferry Aratere. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The Interislander ferry Aratere. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Interislander management have refuted claims by NZ First leader Winston Peters that the ferry Aratere has blown an engine on its return voyage from Singapore.

Mr Peters tonight issued a press release citing KiwiRail sources saying the beleaguered Cook Strait ferry was approaching from Australia at a reduced speed.

Mr Peters said the vessel was reportedly down to 10 knots and needed to refuel in the near future.

"We call on the Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee to immediately explain what is happening with the ferry and to explain why this problem has followed a supposed repair job in Singapore."

However, Interislander general manager Thomas Davis tonight said Mr Peters' claim was "completely incorrect".

"We haven't blown an engine. The reality is we've got to go to Gladstone [in Australia] to bunker [refuel].

"The bunkering barge in Gladstone is not available for three days so there's no point in us getting there when it's not available.

"We're steaming slowly to Gladstone to be there when the bunker barge is available."

One of Aratere's engines was not in service as it was currently under maintenance, however it had not blown, Mr Davis said.

"The ship has six engines, we don't even need five engines to get to Gladstone on the timetable we need to."

- APNZ

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