Kaitaki to return to Cook Strait run


 Kaitaki will return to the Cook Strait run tomorrow, sailing from Wellington as a freight-only service at 8.45am, Interislander Executive General Manager Walter Rushbrook says.

 “Our top priority is safety, and we would not be sailing unless we were satisfied the vessel was ready.

 It will make two return trips tomorrow, and continue on its normal schedule.

“The plan is to return Kaitaki into service in a staged way. The ship will return initially as a freight-only service. After further performance and assurance checks, we will resume taking passengers.

 “We will confirm the timeframes as soon as we are able, but it is likely to run as freight-only for 1-2 weeks.

 ”The ship has already undertaken sea trials in Wellington Harbour.

 “As I have outlined, the root cause of Saturday’s power outage was a fault in the ship’s engine cooling system caused by a leak in a connection.

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

 “We appreciate this has been very disruptive for our passengers and freight customers at one of the busiest times of the year.

 “We are also running additional sailings of Aratere and Valentine to help meet demand, and appreciate everybody’s patience as we work through this challenging situation.

 “All those affected are being notified individually.

 “We apologise again for the impact this disruption has had on people’s plans and we are working hard to relieve the situation as quickly as possible.”