Hundreds of ferry commuters were left stranded on Waiheke Island this morning, after the Fullers ferry service was cancelled due to a mechanical fault.
Fullers travel alerts showed that sailings were cancelled from 6am to 8am, with around 400 commuters left queuing.
In a statement provided to RNZ, Fullers said the cancellation was due to defective fire equipment that was a health and safety risk and did not comply with sailing regulations.
"The health and safety of our customers and crew is the top priority. Therefore, we made the decision to cancel the 6am ex-Waiheke sailing, 6.45am ex-Auckland and the 7.30am ex-Waiheke sailings, which also caused a 10-minute delay to the 8.15am ex-Auckland. Customers were notified by alerts via the Fullers360 app and website at 5.24am, 6.37am, and at 7.50am," the statement said.
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"Our maintenance crew responded immediately and were on site at 5.50am to assess the vessel and commence maintenance to ensure it is safe. We know these cancellations impact the day-to-day life of our customers and sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused, but we don't compromise on safety."
This morning's cancellation came as reduced winter sailings to the island have seen many passengers stranded on the dock, missing appointments and unable to get home.
Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye and Waiheke Local Board chairwoman Cath Handley met Fullers chief executive Mike Horne on Monday to discuss a way forward.
Auckland councillor Chris Darby also wrote to Minister of Transport Phil Twyford to ask for Fullers to lose a special status which exempts its ferry services from Auckland Transport oversight and competitive tendering rules.
That would bring Fullers' Waiheke and Devonport routes under the oversight of Auckland Transport, allowing for integrated fares and giving the organisation a close look at Fullers' operations, he says.
Currently Auckland Transport can penalise rail and bus companies that fail to deliver on their contracts, but Fullers' Waiheke and Devonport routes have no such rules.
Twyford announced last week he would be reviewing the current model.