28 Aug 2011

Maritime NZ looks into Auckland ferry fire

6:05 pm on 28 August 2011

The maritime safety authority says it is undertaking preliminary enquiries before deciding whether it will launch a full-scale investigation into a fire on an Auckland commuter ferry.

More than 300 passengers were evacuated from a Fullers' ferry travelling from Auckland to Waiheke Island on Saturday morning, after a small fire broke out in the engine room.

A Maritime New Zealand spokesperson says its investigators are gathering information about what happened.

The ferry company, Fullers, says it is also carrying out its own investigation to try and find the cause of the fire.

It says the ferry will not be used again until that investigation is complete.

Small fire in engine-room

The small fire broke out in the engine-room of the Jet Raider travelling from Auckland to Waiheke Island at about 11.30am on Saturday.

The vessel was brought to a halt by the incident in the Motuihe Channel, just over halfway through its journey.

Automated extinguishers put the fire out and the 316 passengers were transferred to another boat, an operation aided by good weather conditions, and taken to the island.

The disabled ferry was then towed to shore so that firefighters equipped with breathing gear could use thermal imaging equipment to locate the source of the fire.