Stena Alegra ready to sail

Last updated 10:51 19/01/2014

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Rough seas briefly sidelined Interislander's beleaguered replacement ferry last night, but the Stena Alegra is on track to sail again this evening.

The Stena Alegra was last night cancelled as a precaution due to rough weather, and passengers were moved to alternative sailings as the ferry remained docked alongside its predecessor the Aratere.

Interislander general manager Thomas Davis this morning said the replacement ferry was on track to make tonight's 8pm Cook Strait sailing as planned.

Mr Davis said last night's 5pm sailing was cancelled and passengers were transferred to the 7pm sailing of the Kaitaki due to rough seas, and it was decided the Stena Alegra would not sail in the swells of up to 4 metres.

The Kaitaki was a more comfortable ship and better able to handle rough conditions in Cook Strait where strong winds whipped up heavy seas.

The Stena Alegra, which broke down in Wellington Harbour on Friday, was not fitted with stabilisers although it had flume tubes, which were designed to have a similar effect.

The ferry, which was chartered at short notice to replace the crippled Aretere, suffered engine trouble shortly after it left the Wellington terminal yesterday.

It finally got away later in the day arriving at Picton last night and returning to Wellington again today, said Mr Thomas.

"There are four-metre swells out in the strait which makes it very  uncomfortable for passengers, regardless of the ferry."

Conditions were expected to moderate later in the evening , so we are offering an alternative sailing at 7pm with the Kaitaki.

''Even so we expect there will be some passengers who opt to wait until calmer conditions tomorrow morning."

Affected passengers were offered the later sailing last night and some who chose to sit out the poor conditions would have set sail this morning on the 7am or 9am sailings on the Kaitaki or Arahura ferries.   

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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