An Interislander senior crewman says the Kaitaki ferry, which broke its mooring during the storm which hit Wellington in June, came within metres of the shoreline.
Kaitaki bosun Tony Mowbray, who was on the ship that night, said the winds of 200km hit the ship hard.
After the engines were fired up, Mr Mowbray said the skipper attempted to keep the ship facing into the wind, but they ended up metres away from the shoreline.
Mr Mowbray said the ferry spent most of the night sailing around the harbour before being able to safely drop anchor near Point Jerningham, on the opposite side of the harbour.
Maritime New Zealand is investigating the incident.
However, Maritime Union Wellingotn branch secretary Mike Clark said he does not believe an inquiry is necessary because, in those situations, God himself could not have kept the boat berthed.