2 Dec 2013

Aratere may be used for freight-only sailings

12:58 pm on 2 December 2013

Maritime officials are considering using the crippled Aratere ferry to transport freight only across Cook Strait, because of an expected Christmas backlog.

The Interislander ferry has been out of service since losing one of two propellors in early November during a crossing.

Kiwirail, Maritime New Zealand and the Wellington and Marlborough Harbour masters discussed on Monday the logistics of a limited operation of the Aratere.

Interislander general manager Thomas Davis says sea and wind conditions would have to be excellent for any sailings, as safety is paramount.

Mr Davis says the plan includes using tug boats as a precaution to escort the Aratere in and out of Wellington harbour and out of the Marlborough Sounds.

A decision is expected by the end of the week.