Repair job nears for Aratere

TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 09:01 27/02/2014

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KiwiRail's crippled Cook Strait ferry Aratere is expected to arrive in Singapore for drydock propeller shaft repairs at the Keppel Shipyard later today. 

Aratere has been on the water for 19 days after sailing out of Wellington on one propeller, on Saturday February 8. 

It made the voyage to Singapore under the command of the first female master of an InterIslander ferry, Jenny Cuttriss. 

Before her promotion to skipper for the voyage to Singapore Captain Cuttriss had served as chief mate on Aratere, which lost its starboard propeller during a routine sailing from Picton to Wellington on the night of Tuesday, November 5.

At least one propeller and shaft are to be replaced on the Aratere by Keppel Shipyard staff.  

While in drydock, the ship's port shaft will be inspected and, if required, also replaced.

In 2011 Aratere underwent an earlier costly five-month $53.8 million extension project at another Singapore shipyard.

The supersizing project involved the installation of a new 30-metre mid-body section in the ship, as well as a new stern profile, a new bow, new generators, and a total interior refurbishment.

Outgoing KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn estimates Aratere's broken propeller shaft on November 5, 2013 could cost the company up to $30 million.

The $30 million figure included the six-month charter costs of replacement Swedish-owned vessel Stena Alegra (while Aratere undergoes repairs in Singapore).

Mr Quinn anticipated Aratere would be back in service on Cook Strait, all going well, by early May.

Aratere's 2011 Singapore expansion project was overseen by Interislander general manager Thomas Davis and the company's former shipping services boss Peter Clarke.

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- The Dominion Post

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