Ferries deal with power loss problems

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 07:24 08/10/2012

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Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says there have been 10 incidents of Cook Strait ferries losing power in the Marlborough Sounds during the past five years.

The incidents are listed by ship, date, location, incident, and any notes, as supplied by MNZ:

Arahura, August 10, 2009, at sea, approaching Tory Channel entrance, propulsion failure. "On approach to Tory Channel from Cook Strait, the duty engineer advised the bridge team that they had a problem in the engine room and advised that they abort the approach to Tory Channel as a precaution. At this time Arahura was 3 miles off and the master turned to starboard away from the entrance while reducing propulsion power. Within 2-3 minutes, the vessel had turned 180 degrees and the chief engineer called to advise that the problem had been resolved and the passage could be resumed. The turn to starboard was continued until Tory Channel entrance was again ahead, propulsion power returned to full and the passage to Picton continued."

Aratere, August 21, 2010, Picton Harbour, equipment failure. "On arrival in Picton and just prior to berthing, Aratere's low pressure alarm activated a shutdown of the port propeller shaft. Aratere safely berthed on the remaining shaft."

Straitsman, June 16, 2011, at sea, Tory Channel, equipment failure. "Starboard main engine high exhaust temperatures required a power reduction of 50 per cent. Due to a cracked exhaust pipe elbow joint at the turbo charger. Vessel slow steamed to Wellington and berthed without assistance."

Straitsman, July 20, 2011, inshore waters, Tory Channel, propulsion failure. "Fuel pump seized on port engine at 2032 (hours). Vessel anchored in Tory Channel to effect repairs. Vessel resumed passage fully operational at 2210."

Straitsman, September 11, 2011, inshore waters, Tory Channel, equipment failure. "Exhaust bellows on the starboard main engine fractured resulting in increased exhaust valve temperatures. Starboard main engine reduced to 30 per cent power. Vessel berthed in Picton without incident. Temporary repair made. Starboard main engine max load limited to 55 per cent."

Aratere, October 27, 2011, between Arrowsmith and Heaphy Pt, Tory Channel, equipment failure. "Aratere was proceeding inwards to Picton and had just passed Arrowsmith Point when apparent loss of power on engines occurred. Vessel was able to keep steering although speed dropped off to about 4 knots. Control of engines changed to engine room control and vessel brought into Queen Charlotte Sound. Control given back to bridge and power increased. Seemed to be functioning normally. Tested astern. Vessel continued to Picton and berthed without further incident."

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Aratere, October 31, 2011, approaching Tory Channel entrance, equipment failure. "Vessel was exiting Tory Channel and abeam of Scraggy Light when power suddenly reduced to one DG. Speed fell from approximately 18 knots. Enough steerage to complete exit from Tory Channel. When just clear of the entrance, the vessel blacked out completely. Vessel had enough way to keep moving and approximately 6 minutes later power was restored to port shaft and the vessel proceeded clear of land at about six knots. At 1955 hours, the fire alarm sounded and was attended by engine crew with deck crew standing by. A fault in the system meant that the alarm sounded in the passenger accommodation so passengers were informed there was no fire. At 2020 hours the starboard shaft was restarted and the vessel continued to Wellington. The tug Ngahue was engaged to meet Aratere at the outer buoy in Wellington and escort it to its berth. This occurred without further incident."

Kaitaki, June 24, 2012, Arrowsmith Pt, Tory Channel, electrical power failure. "Alternator failed causing blackout on board, however propulsion and steering retained. Backup generator started and voyage continued."

Kaitaki, July 20, 2012, east of Arrowsmith Pt, Marlborough Sounds, equipment failure. "GPS and navigation systems failed (note no loss of propulsion), system reset without incident."

Santa Regina, September 23, 2012, inshore waters, Tory Channel, equipment failure. "Vessel was on passage from Picton to Wellington. While the vessel was in Tory Channel the starboard main engine was shut down due to a fuel oil leak on the number two fuel pump. The vessel reversed its course intending to exit via the northern entrance. The leak was sourced to a pump barrel locking screw which was replaced. The starboard main engine was restarted and the vessel was turned to exit via Tory Channel entrance."

- The Marlborough Express

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