Not plain sailing for Aratere

A return sailing across the Cook Strait on troubled Interislander ferry Aratere has been cancelled today, just one day after its return to service.

The vessel has been out of action after losing a propeller on a crossing in November last year, and underwent a three month refurbishment in Singapore.

It had its first full day of services yesterday, scheduled to run three return sailings from Wellington to Picton.

However, today KiwiRail said it had taken the ferry "a little longer to make the Cook Strait crossing than previously", and it was cancelling a sailing to stop a delays.

"To prevent these small delays from accumulating, the decision was made to cancel today's 6.45am sailing. All freight and passengers scheduled for this service have been contacted and were accommodated on either the Arahura or Kaitaki morning sailings," KiwiRail said in a statement.

"Aratere will resume at 2.45pm this afternoon, and we will continue to monitor her performance closely."

Meanwhile, the company said it was not concerned about the ferry Arahura hitting the wharf at its Wellington terminal this morning, reportedly due to strong winds in the capital.

"Vessels contact wharves fairly regularly especially in adverse weather," a spokesman said. "There was no damage to either the Arahura or the wharf, and we've received no reports of injury to persons or damage to cargo as a result."


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