28 Jan 2023

Tug boats escorting Interislander to Wellington after ferry loses power

9:49 pm on 28 January 2023
03052021 NEWS PHOTO MARLBOROUGH EXPRESS SCOTT HAMMOND / STUFF Police search ferries after bomb scare in Picton ferry terminal. Bluebridge is delayed at the dock during the search,

File image. Photo: LDR / STUFF

A passenger on the Interislander ferry, which lost its engines off Wellington's south coast, says they're back to full power.

A captain announcement on-board the ship told passengers power has been restored, and anchors were coming up.

The vessel was able to move under its own power but was being accompanied by tug boats as a precaution, KiwiRail said in a statement.

The vessel was travelling slowly, and was expected to arrive at Kaiwharawhara shortly after 9pm on Saturday.

The Interislander ferry, the Kaitaki, lost power and dropped its anchor south-west of Sinclair Head earlier this evening.

KiwiRail said the 800 passengers and 80 crew on board were safe.

Palmerston North City councillor Lorna Johnson, who was on the 2pm sailing from Picton, told RNZ an emergency has been declared.

Life jackets were handed out, but nobody had panicked.

Another passenger onboard said the swell was large for part of the sailing, but calmed down before the ship lost power.

Wellington harbourmaster Grant Nalder confirmed the ship had dropped its anchor south-west of Sinclair Head on Wellington's South Coast.

Tug boats were accompanying the ferry back to the Kaiwharawhara terminal in Wellington.

The cause of the temporary loss of power will be investigated.