Kaitaki making progress on return to service

Kaitaki is making progress on its return to service, Interislander Executive General Manager Walter Rushbrook says.

“The fault that caused a loss of power on Saturday has been identified and is in the process of being fixed.

“The root cause was a fault in the ship’s engine cooling system.

“As is common in ships, there is one water cooling system which is connected to all four of the main ship engines and also to the engines that run the generators for electricity.

“A leak occurred in a connection that is part of the cooling system, which resulted in a loss of pressure.

“Sensors in each of the engines detected the reduction in pressure and the engines automatically shut down to protect them from overheating.

“The crew rapidly isolated the fault and were able to restore power to the ship.

“The connection has been repaired and all other components of the cooling system have been checked and tested.       

“Safety is our number one priority and we will not resume sailing until we are certain it is safe to do so.

“The ship will not return to service until Lloyds Register Class Society - an independent third party - has inspected the ship and issued an assurance report to Interislander and Maritime New Zealand. We are working closely with Maritime New Zealand and Lloyds.

“We appreciate this has been hugely disruptive for our customers at one of the busiest times of the year. We are working on a plan to re-introduce the Kaitaki as soon as possible later this week.

“We will be undertaking sea trials and initially it will carry only freight before returning to normal service.

“We will confirm the timeframes for this as soon as we are able.

“The disruption has resulted in a backlog of passengers and freight, and we are working to clear this as quickly as possible. Some other sailings have been rescheduled and extra sailings have been added.

“When space becomes available we are posting updates via our Facebook page.

“Our Contact Centre is experiencing very high call volumes and there are long wait times. We have asked customers to use our website to make bookings or cancellations.

“All those affected have been notified individually.

“We apologise again for the impact this disruption has had on people’s plans and we are exploring every option to relieve the situation.”