11 Nov 2011

Ferry cleared to carry passengers from Monday

5:30 pm on 11 November 2011

The problem-plagued interisland ferry Aratere has been cleared to resume passenger services next week.

The ferry has had a number of serious problems since undergoing $53 million worth of work in Singapore earlier this year.

There have been no passenger sailings since 1 November, when the ship lost power in Tory Channel. It subsequently suffered further problems during sea trials.

Freight-only sailings resumed on 4 November.

Interislander general manager Thomas Davis says tests on Friday morning have confirmed the reliability and stability of the ferry's engines and propulsion systems.

He says many staff who would normally work on the Aratere have been transferred to another ferry during the disruption, and time is needed to reintroduce the Aratere to its usual timetable.

The first passenger sailing will be on Monday afternoon.

Talks about warranty cover

KiwiRail chief executive,Jim Quinn says some of the problems experienced by the Aratere will be covered by warranty and some won't.

Mr Quinn says the most recent issues were in relation to two new engines fitted at the same time as lengthening work in Singapore.

He says talks are under way with the shipyard involved in the extension, and the suppliers of the engines and power management system, about what will be covered under warranty.