Aratere Service Disruption: Fact Sheet

03 November 2011 9:09AM

On Tuesday November 1 the Interislander ferry, Aratere, was taken out of service. This will continue until we are satisfied that all repairs have been completed.

We apologise to our passenger and freight customers for this inconvenience and have been in contact with those booked on the Aratere to make other arrangements.

These arrangements include transfers to other ferries, either on Interislander or Bluebridge or a full refund.

Both the Kaitake and Arahura ferries are taking extra passenger and freight capacity while the Aratere is out of service.

Safety is our first priority and Aratere will not return to service until we, and Maritime NZ, are satisfied she is fully operational.

Performance Information Since Return to Service

Between October 6, when sailings resumed, and October 31, the Aratere has crossed the Cook Strait120 times.

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

There have been 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

Replace turbo on Engine 4 to provide three main engines. Complete
Tune Engine's 5 & 6. Almost complete
Test power management system Underway
Sea trails to load test the engines and power management systems Scheduled for this evening
The fire alarm system. Underway
Fix the communications between the bridge and engine room. Complete


Other Resolved Issues

New toilets not working Toilets have been repaired under warranty
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