More woes for Cook Strait ferries

TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 10:29 29/11/2013
Santa Regina
Fairfax NZ
OUT OF ACTION: Bluebridge's Santa Regina ferry missed two sailings this morning due to problems with a hydraulic ramp.

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Major disruptions plagued Cook Strait ferry services this morning after Bluebridge's Santa Regina ferry missed two sailings with an hydraulic ramp problem.

Bluebridge spokeswoman Wendy Pannett confirmed the Santa Regina missed its early-morning sailing from Picton to Wellington and the return trip at 8:30am because of the ramp hydraulic problem.

InterIslander, which is already a ferry down on the route with the Aratere - which lost a propeller on an evening crossing earlier this month - laid up on Aotea Quay, has been relying heavily on Bluebridge to pick up excess freight and passengers with its ships the Santa Regina and the Straitsman.

Pannett suggested the problem with Santa Regina appeared to be getting the ramp up off the wharf prior to sailing.

Santa Regina was still at Bluebridge's Waitohi Wharf berth in Picton at 9:45am today, with engineers endeavouring to fix the problem.

In the meantime, in a rare move, Bluebridge's Straitsman used InterIslander's Kaitaki berth in Picton to discharge and load passengers and cargo during its turnaround this morning.

At 9:45am InterIslander's flagship was still berthed at its Wellington terminal. It had been due to sail at 9:00am.

The InterIslander's Arahura was 1 hour 45 minutes late getting away from Wellington this morning when it sailed for Picton shortly before 9:00am.

To rub further salt into the ferry wounds, the stricken Aratere's bow was blown off its Aotea Quay berth last night in a repositioning manoeuvre as it tried to shuffle along Aotea Quay wharf last night.

A tug that was 100 metres away at the time attending to a cruise-ship departure, was hurriedly called in to resolve this problem.

There were just three ferries - InterIslander's Kaitaki and Arahura and Bluebridge's Straitsman - still in working order on Cook Strait this morning.

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- The Dominion Post

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