Maritime Union statement on Kaitaki ferry engine failure

The Maritime Union says the engine failure of the interisland ferry Kaitaki on Saturday 28 January is concerning for crew aboard the ship.

The ship drifted in high winds off the south coast of Wellington after losing engine power, before moving into shallower water where its anchors could catch.

Maritime Union National Secretary Craig Harrison says finding out the cause of the failure is a priority.

Mr Harrison says the actions of the Captain and crew of the Kaitaki were commendable in managing the situation.

“As noted by Transport Minister Michael Wood, the failure of previous Governments to invest in upgrading our interisland ferries has led to an ageing fleet where this kind of problem occurs.”

Maritime Union Wellington Branch Secretary Jim King says while concerning for passengers, crew are well trained for such events and acted in a professional manner.

Mr King says KiwiRail have taken a proactive response to the issue and have kept crew informed of developments.

Two new, custom-built inter island ferries are on order by KiwiRail but the first vessel will not be in service until 2025.

Seafarers (deck crew and catering staff) aboard the Kaitaki and other interisland ferries are members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand.

For further information, please contact:

Maritime Union of New Zealand Wellington Branch Secretary Jim King on mobile 020 4836262