The fault that caused a loss of power on Interislander ferry Kaitaki has been identified. After repairs, Kaitaki will return to the Cook Strait run by February 3 as a freight-only service.
Walter Rushbrook, Interislander Executive General Manager, explained that the team stop priority in repairs has been safety.
“We would not be sailing unless we were satisfied the vessel was ready,” Rushbrook said. “The plan is to return Kaitaki into service in a stage way. The ship will return initially as a freight-only service. After further performance and assurance checks, we will resume taking passengers.”
The root cause of the fault was the ship engine cooling system, where a leak occurred in a connection part that resulted in a loss of pressure.
“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,” Ruchbrook detailed. “Sensors in each engine detected the reduction in pressure, and the engines automatically shut down to protect them from overheating.”
A timeframe will be confirmed as soon as the Kiwi Rail team can, though Kaitaki is likely to run as a freight-only ship for one to two weeks. The ship has undertaken sea trials in Wellington Harbour after the connection was repaired, checked and tested.
Additional services of Aratere and Valentine are running to help meet demand, though Rushbrook and his team acknowledged everyone’s patience and understanding during this situation.
“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.”