Aratere out of the water again

Last updated 08:43 29/07/2014

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Troubled Cook Strait ferry Aratere has this week been cleaned of weeds collected in Singapore during its four-month dry docking trip this year.

Interislander commissioned Wellington-based divers to remove weeds clinging to the ship's hull, propeller and rudder areas on Sunday and Monday.

Interislander spokesman Michael Flyger confirmed antifouling had been applied to Aratere while the ship was in dry dock in April having a replacement set of propellers fitted.

The ship then went back in to the water to await a second unscheduled Singapore dry docking in May to replace cracked rudder stocks.

Antifouling was not applied to the ship after the second Singapore dry docking.

Flyger said the hull cleaning by the divers would be completed in time to allow Aratere to return to its reduced timetable of two return crossings a day at 2pm today.

Aratere lost its starboard propeller in Cook Strait on November 5 last year when a propeller shaft broke.

Aratere returned from Singapore this month.

Interislander's general manager Thomas Davis told journalists then that Aratere, which was rostered to make three return daily sailings of Cook Strait per day, was the backbone of Interislander's fleet.

It soon became apparent the ship's Singapore refitted propellers made Aratere too slow to keep its timetable.

KiwiRail general manager Peter Reidy said Aratere would very likely go to a foreign dry dock again next year so a more powerful set of propellers could be fitted. In the meantime it would make just two return sailings of Cook Strait a day.

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- The Marlborough Express

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