Aratere sailings on hold

Interislander's troubled ferry, Aratere, will not be making its first scheduled freight sailing from Wellington to Picton tonight.

The ferry has undergone intensive tests by Maritime New Zealand inspectors since it returned to Wellington last week from Singapore. 

Having undergone a three-month refurbishment in Singapore after a propeller fell off in Cook Strait on November 5, it required Maritime NZ clearance in Wellington before being allowed to return to sea. 

A Maritime NZ spokeswoman said the Aratere would not be sailing tonight.

''Aratere is not cleared to sail tonight. The vessel is still undergoing inspections by Maritime New Zealand.'' 

A week ago, KiwiRail had said it would resume freight-only sailings from Monday, July 7. 

The Dominion Post