Santa Regina back on board next week

TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 16:33 13/02/2013
Santa Regina
OUT OF SERVICE: Bluebridge's Santa Regina ferry, which is out of action after one of its two engines broke down last week.

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Cook Strait ferry operator Bluebridge is hoping to get its ferry Santa Regina back in passenger and freight service on the Cook Strait run "early next week."

The ferry struggled into Wellington Harbour last Friday morning after one of its two engines broke down on an overnight sailing from Wellington to Picton with a damaged port engine cam shaft.

Bluebridge spokeswoman Wendy Pannett said local firm Acme Engineering had been commissioned to produce a  a new 'hub' for a camshaft ''vibration damper' on Santa Regina.

"It's great to have been able to utilise local expertise to have the part made here. It also means all going well we will have the Santa Regina back in service early next week," Ms Pannett said.

She said heavy freight and passenger loads on the company's other ferry, Straitsman, had meant a few minor delays on departure times for Straitsman's two return sailings between Wellington and Picton per day. 

Santa Regina was escorted back to its Glasgow Wharf berth in Wellington last Friday morning by a CentrePort tug, after making a freight-only return sailing from Picton to Wellington, via the northern channel of Queen Charlotte Sound.

It has not crossed Cook Strait since.

Santa Regina joined the Bluebridge fleet in December 2002.

Ms Pannett said the Straitsman would do two return sailings per day leaving Wellington for Picton at 8am and 9pm and leaving Picton for Wellington at 2pm and 2:30am during the period Santa Regina's engine problems keep it off the Cook Strait run.

Interislander's three ferries Kaitaki, Aratere and Arahura are also benefitting, via increased passenger and freight loads, from Santa Regina's engine problems, according to an InterIslander spokeswoman.

Contact Tim Donoghue
General reporter
Email: tim.donoghue@dompost.co.nz

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