10 March 2005
Subject to a final inspection, the Maritime Safety Authority expects to lift restrictions on the Aratere, allowing it to carry passengers again from Monday.
Acting Director of Maritime Safety Bruce Maroc says the ferry has undergone a very robust and systematic assessment over past weeks.
“Sixteen specialists have been involved along with Toll Shipping staff, and considerable work has been carried out.
“We are satisfied Toll Shipping is taking significant and effective steps to minimise mechanical failures, and that there are long-term solutions and actions in place to enhance mechanical reliability. And subject to final checks being carried out by the manufacturers of the ferry’s control systems, we are satisfied for the Aratere to resume passenger sailings.
“While the possibility of a mechanical failure in the future can never be ruled out - no more than it can be for any vessel - extensive testing and maintenance of the ferry’s mechanical and electrical systems over the last four weeks has ensured the risks have been minimised. And in the event of an incident, robust procedures are now in place for the crew to deal with it.
“I commend Toll Shipping management and the vessel’s crew for commissioning and embracing the expert advice and for the amount of work being carried out to ensure long-term solutions are achieved,” he said.
On 10 February, the MSA placed conditions on the Aratere, that included a technical risk assessment to be undertaken, from which actions to improve reliability would be developed and implemented. The MSA required the ferry to carry cargo only, until conditions were lifted, and for emergency procedures and contingency plans to be reviewed. Additional engineering staff are also required to sail on the ferry.
The MSA took this action because of concerns arising from a series of incidents involving the ferry, including a rudder failure on 9 February.
For further information contact:
Maritime New Zealand Media Line
Phone 04 499 7318