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A replacement ferry brought in by Interislander has broken down less than a week into service.
Kiwi Rail confirmed this morning the Stena Alegra, which began sailings across Cook Strait on Monday, broke down earlier this morning in Wellington Harbour.
The ferry was ordered from Europe for the busy summer period after the Aratere lost a propeller over the Cook Strait in November.
Kiwi Rail said the ship suffered a partial loss of power when it was leaving Wellington about 5am for a freight-only trip.
The power loss affected some of the control systems for one of the propellers.
It was currently anchored at Wellington Harbour while staff investigated the fault.
Scores of passengers booked on the 9.05am passenger vehicle sailing from Picton were being re-booked, with the breakdown forcing the cancellation of that service, Kiwi Rail said.
Nearly 150 passenger vehicles had been booked for the sailing.
"Our staff are working hard to find a solution to the fault and get the ship back into operation. We apologise to our customers for the disruption and will issue an update as we have more news," Interislander general manager Thomas Davis said.
Meanwhile, the Kiwi Rail website has suspended bookings for sailings between Picton and Wellington for today and tomorrow.
- Teuila Fuatai of APNZ