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Aratere out of action again

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/09/2016

Rudder problems have forced the troubled Interislander ferry Aratere out of action.

Engineers are fixing worn seals on port-side steering gear and sailings have been cancelled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

It is hoped the ship will be back in action by the end of the week and in the meantime Kaitaki and Kaiarahi were taking up the slack, says Interislander operations manager Peter Mathews.

"We are unsure what has caused the seals to degrade but we expect to have more information later today or tomorrow," he said in a statement.

The problem had nothing to do with the propeller falling off the ship in 2013, he said.

The Aratere, which at the time carried 45 per cent of Interislander's freight and passengers, lost its six-tonne propeller while crossing Cook Strait, throwing the government-owned company's schedule into disarray and costing it up to an estimated $30 million in repairs and lost revenue.

It was the most memorable of a raft of glitches which have struck the ship since it entered service in 1999.

In 2011, it was refitted and stretched by 30 metres at a cost of around $54m.

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