Last week, weather conditions again disrupted the schedules
of ferries on the Wellington-Picton route.
But for one vessel that would have faced similar conditions
in its younger days, Alang, in India, is to be its final
For it was reported that MBRS Lines, of Manila, had sold Mary
the Queen and Virgin Mary to Indian shipbreakers for an en
bloc deal worth $US4.7 million. Mary the Queen, completed at
Troon in June 1972 by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company, served
as the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's Mona's Queen until
Virgin Mary, which has carried this name since 1999, was
formerly the Interisland Line's Aratika.
The fourth rail ferry to be built for the service, it was
also the first to be built by a foreign yard.
Aramoana came from the Dumbarton yard of Wm Denny and Bros,
in 1962; Aranui from Vickers Ltd, Newcastle, in 1966; and, in
1972, Arahanga from the Clydebank division of Upper Clyde
The order for Aratika was placed with the Dubigeon-Normandie
yard at Praire-au-Duc, Nantes.
Launched on November 8, 1973, the ship was handed over in
Like Arahanga, it was also a freight-only with limited
In June 1976, the 3879gt ship arrived at Hong Kong to undergo
an extensive conversion by the Hong Kong United Dockyard.
This involved fitting two complete new decks, two half decks
and major interior alterations.
The ship was originally designed to accommodate 10
passengers, a crew of 41 and railway wagons.
It emerged from this work as a 5592gt vessel with facilities
catering for 800 day passengers, a crew of 60, garage space
for about 70 cars, plus the existing train deck.
Incidentally, Aratika berthed at Dunedin on October 10, 1989,
for a month-long refit by Sims Engineering, which had also
undertaken similar work on three of the other ferries at
Aranui called in May 1978, Arahanga in February 1989 and
Arahura four months later.
Aratika now follows two of its former running mates on the
road to the demolition sites of Alang. After being withdrawn
from service in New Zealand waters, Aramoana was renamed
Captain Nicolas V in 1984 before reverting to Aramoana during
the same year.
In 1986, it became Najd II, and before arriving at Alang in
December 1994, had been given the name Niaxco III.
Arahanga, the only one that was never renamed, arrived at
Alang on June 8, 2001, from Wellington.
Aranui ended its days at the hands of Bangladeshi
shipbreakers at Chittagong in November 1994.
Given the name Aranui I in 1984, it was shortened to Nui in
1985, then to its final name, Najd II, also during the same
Later this week, the 38,894gt, Panama-flagged woodchip
carrier Forest Wave , operated by Mitsui-OSK, will make its
sixth visit to Port Chalmers.
Built at the Oshima yard, the vessel entered service in
February 1991 and was last here in June 1993.