Concerns over “aging fleet” following Interisland incident

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Jan 30, 2023 |

Photo: Supplied

The Maritime Union is raising concerns about the Interisland’s aging fleet, following the power cut aboard the Kaitaki on Saturday.

Kaitaki is out of action again today, after its engines failed in Cook Strait on Saturday.

Other ferries are working to provide extra services.

Kaitaki drifted in high winds off the south coast of Wellington on Saturday after losing engine power, before moving into shallower water where its anchors could catch.

Maritime Union National Secretary Craig Harrison said finding out the cause of the failure is a priority.

“The actions of the Captain and crew of the Kaitaki were commendable in managing the situation.”

He said “as noted by Transport Minister, the failure of previous Governments to invest in upgrading our interisland ferries has led to an ageing fleet where this kind of problem occurs.”

Maritime Union Wellington Branch Secretary Jim King said while concerning for passengers, the crew are well trained for such events and acted in a professional manner.

King says KiwiRail has taken a proactive response to the issue and has kept crew informed of developments.

Two new, custom-built interisland ferries are on order by KiwiRail but the first vessel will not be in service until 2025.

Seafarers (deck crew and catering staff) aboard the Kaitaki and other interisland ferries are members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand.

Transport Accident Investigation Commission opens inquiry

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has opened an inquiry into the loss of power experienced by the Interislander ferry.

Chief Investigator of Accidents, Naveen Kozhuppakalam, is appealing for ferry passengers and residents of Wellington’s South Coast who have videos or photographs of the events to contact TAIC at [email protected].

Kozhuppakalam has appointed a team of investigators with expert knowledge of marine operations, engineering and maintenance.

Their initial investigation work will be to interview the ship’s crew, incident responders, Wellington harbour authorities, and other witnesses.

The Commission will also inspect the ship and obtain all relevant records and electronic recorded data.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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