Smoke without fire on commuter ferry

KELSEY FLETCHER AND MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 19:19 24/09/2012

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A 360 Discovery ferry which ran into trouble in the Hauraki Gulf did not catch fire, as originally reported.

Police said earlier tonight the commuter ferry, with 57 passengers and three crew aboard, had an engine room fire.

However, the fire service found there was smoke without fire, Silverdale station officer Ted Fuller said.

The ferry was escorted to the Gulf Harbour Marina in Whangaparoa after suffering engine problems.

"There was no fire, it was an overheated engine that was smoking and set off their smoke detection systems," Fuller said.

"People were evacuated to the top deck while they instigated emergency procedures."

A mayday call was issued at 6pm, sparked by suspicions of a mechanical failure, 360 Discovery spokeswoman Lucy Farrington said.

Passengers were moved to muster spots in case of an emergency.

The ferry was then escorted to Gulf Harbour, arriving at 6.45pm.

Farrington said the mayday was due to mechanical failure, and "there was definitely not a fire" on the boat.

Fullers would be conducting its own internal investigation while Maritime New Zealand would also be investigating, she said.

The Auckland to Gulf Harbour service would continue to run to schedule, though buses may replace boats in some instances.

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- Fairfax Media

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