17 Dec 2017

Interislander travellers left stranded by mechanical fault

3:47 pm on 17 December 2017

Hundreds of Interislander travellers had their plans disrupted this morning after a mechanical fault saw the Kaitaki ferry replaced with a smaller ship.

The Kaitaki in the Marlborough Sounds.

The Kaitaki in the Marlborough Sounds. Photo: Supplied / KiwiRail

The disruption affected today's 9am sailing from Wellington and the 2.15pm return from Picton.

The Kaiarahi was used instead, but it carries fewer passengers, meaning not everyone could sail as planned.

About 400 affected passengers had to be accommodated on alternative sailings, but there were delays.

Other ferries were sailing as scheduled.

Passenger Colin Shervell and his wife were two of the passengers affected this morning.

He said they tried to travel by plane instead, but there were no seats left.

"We had to get the shuttle and come back and renegotiate a seat on the next boat, because they wanted to put us on the 8pm boat, and we're a couple of oldies. I'm 82 and my wife's not far behind me," he said.

Mr Shervell said it had been a long, wasted day for him and his wife, and he wanted to know what compensation there would be.

Elliot - who is on a working holiday from France - said he managed to get a seat on the next boat, but his friend just left because he did not want to keep waiting.

He said it was hard waking up early for the ferry this morning and a bit annoying, but the wait wasn't too much of a problem.

Maureen Studman said she and her husband got to the Ferry Terminal and started queuing in plenty of time, meaning they managed to get a ticket on the next boat.

"We're just staying here now, it's not worth going back into Wellington."

The couple said they were supposed to be given breakfast on board, but luckily the ferry terminal cafe were offering free muffins and hot drinks.