Kaitaki ferry sailing cancelled after mechanical problems

05:19, Sep 02 2014

Interislander ferry Kaitaki will be out of action until at least 8pm tomorrow night after it suffered a coupling failure on a propeller shaft generator.

The repair work means the ship will be out of action until its 8pm Wellington to Picton sailing tomorrow night, Interislander spokesman Michael Flyger said.

Kaitaki's problems mean that Aratere is now the one Interislander ferry servicing the Cook Strait run as Arahura is in Auckland on the Devenport dry dock as part of a routine maintenance service.

Problems on board Kaitaki became apparent on Wellington Harbour on Monday night when the ship appeared to lose power about 9:30pm off Point Halswell while making its way from Wellington to Picton on a routine sailing.

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Temporary repairs appeared to have been  made on board and Kaitaki then sailed on to Picton and returned to Wellington Harbour early this morning.  

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Since then the company has confirmed six scheduled crossings of the strait by Kaitaki have had to be cancelled.

The ship's 8:45am and 8pm return sailings of Cook Strait out of Wellington were cancelled today. 

Flyger also confirmed the 8:45am return sailing out of Wellington tomorrow would also be cancelled. 

"The mechanical issue on the Interislander ferry Kaitaki will be repaired in time for her to make the scheduled 8pm crossing from Wellington tomorrow evening.

"Kaitaki has suffered a failure of the flexible rubber coupling on a shaft generator, meaning two of her four generators were unavailable as another was undergoing planned maintenance.  This means she had no redundancy in the event of a further failure, meaning it is unsafe to go to sea.

"The result of these issues meant she was unable to sail at all today.  Her 8:45am and 1pm return sailing between Wellington and Picton tomorrow has also been cancelled."

Freight and passengers would be transferred to the 10.45am Aratere, where possible, which was usually a freight-only sailing, Flyger said.

The Dominion Post