Interislander ferry out of service following gearbox fault

Mon, Mar 6
Interislander passenger ferry (file picture).

Interislander’s Kaitaki ferry will again be out of action, this time for at least the next two weeks following a gearbox fault on Saturday night.

KiwiRail says a fault was identified in one of the ship's two gearboxes while it was in port in Wellington.

Investigations are ongoing, and KiwiRail is in contact with the gearbox’s manufacturer in the Netherlands, with a technician flying out.

Interislander executive general manager Walter Rushbrook today apologised for the inconvenience the ship’s cancellation has caused.

“It’s really disappointing for our crew as we take real pride in the service we deliver.

“We are contacting all the affected passengers and will do all we can to ensure they are re-allocated to other sailings with as little disruption as possible.”

Passengers and freight booked on Kaitaki for yesterday and today have been moved to other services.

Extra sailings have also been added to the schedule of both Kaiarahi and Aratere to accommodate Kaitaki being out of action.

Interislander's new ship, Valentine, will operate as a freight service to free up space on passenger services.

Kaitaki’s issues come as a number of Interislander services have been cancelled due to technical malfunctions in recent months.

Passengers have been stranded, with some being forced to sleep on couches and leave cars in Picton or Wellington.

Rushbrooke attributed the services' issues to an ageing fleet.

“Our ships are ageing, and this is why we are bringing two new ships into service in 2025 and 2026,” Rushbrook said.

Consumer NZ has also lodged a complaint with the Commerce Commission against both Cook Strait ferry operators Interislander and Bluebridge.

They allege the two companies are misleading passengers about their rights surrounding compensation, breaching the Fair Trade Act.


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