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Stena Alegra ends Cook Strait service

Last updated 16:27 27/06/2014

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The Swedish owned Stena Alegra, which replaced the problem-plagued Interislander ferry Aratere, is scheduled to make its last public sailing across Cook Strait late tomorrow.

Stena Alegra will end its six-month service with the Interislander following a 10:15pm sailing from Picton to Wellington tomorrow (Saturday) night.

It is scheduled to make its final sailing out of Wellington Harbour to Picton, according to the shipping line's website, at 5pm tomorrow.

The 21,000 gross tonne Stena Alegra was built in Spain and was chartered as a replacement for the Aratere, which lost its starboard propeller when a shaft snapped on a sailing from Picton to Wellington on the night of November 5.
Like the Aratere, Stena Alegra has had a trouble during its Cook Strait run.

In its first month of service in January Stena Alegra broke down in Wellington Harbour with an engine problem, and three months later it hit a wharf while berthing in Wellington and suffered a six-metre long gash to its hull above the waterline.

In May, Stena Alegra also suffered a propeller problem when part of a propeller blade fell off when the ferry was at sea. 

A temporary fix was undertaken when a propeller blade, on the blade opposite the damaged one, was trimmed back while the ship was in the water. 

Prior to being chartered by Interislander, Stena Alegra operated on a route between Poland and Sweden, where it ran aground during a severe storm in October last year.

When Aratere sailed out of Wellington in February for dry docking in Singapore former KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn anticipated it would be back on the Cook Strait run by early May.

Interislander general manager Thomas Davis said the Aratere was refuelling today in Queensland, Australia and was expected to depart for Wellington early tomorrow.

Depending on weather, it was expected in Wellington on Wednesday next week.

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- The Dominion Post

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