Aratere to operate freight only service

10 December 2013 9:09AM

Interislander has received approval to operate the Aratere as a single shaft, freight-only service from Tuesday 10 December until Tuesday 24 December following safety approval from classification society Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

“Interislander has been working closely with DNV, Maritime NZ and the Wellington and Marlborough Harbour Masters to agree an operating plan and timetable that would work for all parties involved,” says Interislander’s General Manager Thomas Davis.

“Ultimately, this service will provide an improved opportunity for us to move more freight during this busy period,” Mr Davis says. “The ship will be able to carry 32 rail wagons and 28 trucks per sailing which will mean about 300 trucks that wouldn't have been able to cross Cook Strait will now be able to do so allowing space for passenger vehicles on both the Kaitaki and the Arahura.”

The approval follows DNV’s review of ultrasonic tests carried out on the port shaft to ensure there are no issues and a thorough risk assessment.

“Mitigations have been put in place to minimise any risk, including the use of tugs to escort Aratere in the enclosed waters of the Marlborough Sounds, sailing via the Northern Entrance of Queen Charlotte Sound rather than the narrower Tory Channel. Tugs will also be on standby in Wellington Harbour and will assist the ship into berth. Additionally, there will be restrictions on sailing when the significant wave height is above 3 metres or the average wind speed at the berth is above 20-25 knots,” Mr Davis says.

From Tuesday 10 December through to Thursday 12 December, the Aratere will be departing Wellington at 1am and arriving into Picton at 7:30am. It will then depart Picton at 9:30am, arriving into Wellington at 4pm. From Friday 13 December through to Tuesday 24 December, the ship will depart Wellington at 9:30pm, arriving in Picton at 4am. It will then depart Picton at 5:30am and arrive in Wellington at midday. Bookings for each sailing will open 48 hours ahead of sailing time.

ENDS

Issued by KiwiRail (Contact: Sophie Lee, Senior Communications Advisor, KiwiRail (04) 498 3181 or (027) 435 9464 sophie.lee@kiwirail.co.nz)