26 Mar 2024

KiwiRail seeks advice to extend life of Interislander Kaitaki ferry

11:46 am on 26 March 2024
Interislander MV Kaitaki, Wellington Harbour

Interislander's Kaitaki Photo: Wikimedia Commons

KiwiRail is looking into whether it is possible to extend the life of the Interislander's Kaitaki ferry.

The Kaitaki is the oldest ship in the Interislander fleet and has been the subject of several breakdowns.

Its most notable incident was on 28 January when the ship was sailing into Wellington Harbour where it lost power with more than 880 people on board - resulting in it drifting to towards the South Coast.

It regained limited power and made its way to port, allowing its passengers to safely come ashore.

During post-hearing questions, following KiwiRail's annual review hearing, it was stated that international risk management company DNV (Det Norske Veritas) has been conducting a review of KiwiRail's fleet management practices.

It also states that DNV has been requested to submit a proposal to carry out further work on a life extension of the Kaitaki.

The KiwiRail Board will review this for approval.

Decisions to complete life extension reports for the remaining two ships in the fleet will be made following an appraisal of the Kaitaki proposal.

In December, the government pulled the plug on the Inter-Island Resilient Connection (iReX) project after KiwiRail requested an additional $1.47 billion in funding.

The proposal would have seen two brand new ferries built, and new Interislander terminals constructed in Wellington and Picton.

KiwiRail has been approached for further details.

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