Aratere cancels sailing on second day back at sea

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

The beleaguered Interislander ferry Aratere cancelled a sailing this morning - in what is only its second day back in service after undergoing a three month refurbishment in Singapore.

The vessel had been out of action after losing a propeller on a crossing in November last year and had been scheduled to return to full service yesterday.

However, delays in crossing times - resulting in the ferry losing 15 minutes per sailing - resulted in the service's 6.45am sailing yesterday and today being cancelled.

Spokesman Michael Flyger said those affected by the cancellations had been put on sailings on Interislander's other vessels - Arahura and Kaitaki.

"Obviously there's people and freight that's had to have been juggled around and got across, but we've got sufficient capacity to accommodate all of those - it's just a question of fiddling around with the timetables to make sure we get everybody there as quickly and with as much certainty as possible."

Aratere would still be conducting return freight crossings from Wellington to Picton at 2.45pm and 10.45pm today, he said.

A media briefing this morning would detail what was wrong with Aratere, Mr Flyger said.

Meanwhile, the company said it was not concerned about reports the Arahura hit the wharf at its Wellington terminal yesterday morning, reportedly due to strong winds in the capital.

"Vessels contact wharves fairly regularly especially in adverse weather," a spokesman said yesterday.

"There was no damage to either the Arahura or the wharf, and we've received no reports of injury to persons or damage to cargo as a result."

This morning Mr Flyger said the ship's master and linesman were "both pretty adamant" that the ferry did not make contact the wharf.

Both the wharf and the Arahura subsequently had been inspected and no damage had been found, he said.


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