Behind the scenes

Keeping things on track by taking care of
the infrastructure, engineering and upgrade
of the rollingstock assets

Aratere Service Disruption: Fact Sheet

08 November 2011 11:11AM

The Aratere has been cleared for freight sailings (both commercial vehicle and rail freight). We are working with Maritime NZ to address some further issues and get clearance for passenger sailings.

We have a range of non-safety issues, including some under warranty from three different suppliers, to deal with including:

  • Further work needed on main engine 2 (main engines 1,3 & 4 working as normal)
  • Smaller engines 5 & 6 working fine to generate ship power, but causing problems when used for propulsion
  • Some smaller non-engine related issues around the ship.

The Aratere is able to operate normally on three main engines, however we need to ensure either five or six is available for back-up propulsion.

Further sea trials will be scheduled for this week between freight sailings and the ship will also only be doing two return sailings per day instead of three.

The combination of this decision and not resuming passenger services allows more capacity for our engineering staff to be able to move freely around the ship to get testing completed and these issues fixed faster.

Interislander has also decided to transfer the Arahura and Aratere sailings to ensure less disruption to day sailings for passengers and freight.

Performance Information Since Return to Service

Between October 6, when sailings resumed, and November 8, the Aratere has crossed the Cook Strait over 130 times.

It has regularly carried half a kilometre of rail wagons, which was one of the primary reasons for the extension project.

Since sailings resumed until October 31 there were 20 cancellations (ten return sailings) - 13 freight-only sailings and seven passenger and freight sailings.

Of the 20 cancellations, all but one return sailing was related to timekeeping issues.

The faults that have affected services are:

  • Oct 4 and 5 - Faulty lifeboat davit.
  • Oct 6 - Transistor fault that meant the port shaft lost power while in Wellington harbour, returning from Picton. Ship able to continue with assistance using starboard shaft
  • Oct 27 - Power control system fault on one of the four main engines, coming into Picton. The ship stayed in Picton till 5am, sailed back to Wellington, 0605 and 1005 sailings cancelled, and sailed again when fixed at 1405 that day.
  • Oct 30 - 1005 from Picton. Turbo blower malfunction on one engine, but kept sailing on other engines.
  • Oct 31 - 1805 from Picton. Engine failure and fuel module pipe fracture. Ship two and an half hours late to Wellington and is currently under repair.
  • Oct 2 - While undergoing sea trials experienced a crank case explosion which has since been repaired.

Current Issues Under Repair

Tune Engine's 5 & 6 Underway
Re-align Engine 2. Underway
Sea trails to load test the engines and power management systems Underway


Other Resolved Issues

Fix the communications between the bridge and engine room. Complete
The fire alarm system. Complete
Replace turbo on Engine 4 to provide three main engines. Complete
New toilets not working Toilets have been repaired
Reports of rats on board After several inspections, including Regional Public Health, there is no evidence of a rat problem.
Retained ballast water After confirming source of water, MAF was satisfied it was safe for release in Cook Strait.

Extension Facts

  • Increased Aratere's capacity by about 30 per cent for rail freight, trucks and cars, and 100 per cent for passengers.
  • That means 300 more passengers (to a total of 650), 5 more trucks (to a total of 28) and 8 more rail wagons (to a total of 32).
  • Power delivery will be enhanced with new propellers driven by an improved diesel-electric power plant design.
  • A re-shaped bow, extra length, and new stern profile has improved performance in poor weather, improved fuel efficiency, and reduced wash in the Marlborough Sounds.

New Passenger Lounges

Deck 5

  • New Aratere Plus Premium Lounge.
  • New Quiet Lounge.
  • New Truck Stop driver's lounge

Deck 4

  • New Family Lounge including a children's play zone.
  • Refurbished Lounge Bar.
  • A new shop and upgraded food court.

Facts and Figures

  • Aratere passenger, vehicle and rail ferry: Built in Spain 1998.
  • Length 150m. After extension, 183m.
  • Insert of 29.25m and weighing 1500 tonnes added to midships.
  • A lengthened and streamlined bow adds a further 4.3m.
  • Project cost $53 million.
  • Cutting the ship in half required cutting and reconnecting approximately 6,500 cables and huge numbers of pipes and other ducting.

For further information please contact:
Cathie Bell, KiwiRail
04 498 3383 or 021 804 906