10 Dec 2013

Aratere to carry freight only until Christmas

9:42 pm on 10 December 2013

Damaged Cook Strait ferry the Aratere is to be used as a freight-only ferry between now and Christmas.

The ferry lost one of its two propellers during a crossing on 5 November and has been out of service since.

The Interislander company says it can use the Aratere as a single propeller, freight-only service from Tuesday until 24 December following approval from classification agency Det Norske Veritas.

General manager Thomas Davis says the ship will be able to carry 32 rail wagons and 28 trucks per sailing which will mean about 300 trucks will now be able to cross the Cook Strait.

Mr Davis says that will mean space for passenger vehicles on both the Kaitaki and the Stena Alegra, a replacement ferry.

Tugs will escort the Aratere in the Marlborough Sounds and tugs will also be on standby in Wellington harbour and will assist the ship into berth.

Meanwhile, the ferry's propeller and its shaft was retrieved from Cook Strait on Tuesday. It had been located about two nautical miles from Tory Channel.

Steve McIntyre, chief executive of salvage company Seaworks, said a remote-controlled submarine was used to connect the lifting equipment and the propeller will be brought back to Wellington for a detailed inspection.