Ferry repairs almost completed

Last updated 14:46 14/02/2013

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Cook Strait ferry operator Bluebridge is hoping to get its ferry Santa Regina back into passenger and freight service on the Cook Strait run early next week.

The ferry struggled into Wellington Harbour last Friday after one of its two engines broke down during an overnight sailing from Wellington to Picton. The port engine's camshaft was damaged.

Bluebridge spokeswoman Wendy Pannett said Wellington company Acme Engineering had been commissioned to produce a new "hub" for a camshaft vibration damper.

"Going well, we will have the Santa Regina back in service early next week."

Heavy freight and passenger loads on the company's other ferry, Straitsman, had meant a few minor delays in departure times for that ship's two return sailings between Wellington and Picton each day, she said.

Santa Regina was escorted back to its Glasgow Wharf berth in Wellington by a tug after making a freight-only return sailing from Picton to Wellington via the northern channel of Queen Charlotte Sound. It has not crossed Cook Strait since.

Ms Pannett said the Straitsman would do two return sailings per day, leaving Wellington at 8am and 9pm, and leaving Picton at 2pm and 2.30am, while the Santa Regina was out of action.

Interislander's three ferries Kaitaki, Aratere and Arahura are also benefiting from Santa Regina's engine problems, via increased passenger and freight loads, according to an Interislander spokeswoman. Fairfax NZ

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- The Marlborough Express

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