Problems continue to plague KiwiRail's Interislander ferry
service, with its replacement ferry, the Stena Alegra,
requiring at least four days out-of action for repairs.
The Stena Alegra, which began operating in New Zealand only
in January, has been left with a nasty gash on its hull after
sustaining damage in "extreme weather conditions" at the
Wellington ferry terminal yesterday.
Initially, only today and yesterday evening's ferry crossings
were cancelled, however KiwiRail has since confirmed the
damage to the ship required permanent repair work to be
This would take between four and five days to complete, a
company spokeswoman said.
All Stena Alegra sailings had been cancelled until Sunday so
repairs could be carried out, she said.
The ferry's next scheduled sailing is for 8pm on Sunday.
This is the second time the Stena Alegra has run into trouble
since it began services in January.
Less than a week after it made its first Cook Strait
crossing, it broke down after suffering a partial loss of
power while leaving Wellington.
At the time, one freight-only sailing and one passenger
sailing across Cook Strait were cancelled.
Meanwhile, the company's Aratere ferry, which was sidelined
after losing its propeller during a Cook Strait crossing in
November, is undergoing further repairs, after rudder cracks
The ship, which is in dry dock in Singapore, has had several
repairs, including the reinstallation of new shafts, old
propellers and stabilisers, in preparation for sea trials.
"When reinstalling the rudders this week, ongoing checks
identified a crack in the ship's port and starboard 'rudder
stock' - that is, the shafts which turn the rudders,"
The KiwiRail spokeswoman said Interislander's other ferries
were still sailing.
Passengers and freight companies were being contacted by the
company so alternative arrangements could be made, she said.