The Interislander ferry Arahura was metres from hitting the rocks in Wellington Harbour this morning when its propulsion system failed.
It's the latest of KiwiRail's problems with the ferries after a fault-riddled run with the Aratere, and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says enough is enough.
The ship with 61 passengers was attempting to berth in Wellington just before 10am when something went wrong.
"The captain felt the controls didn't respond as they should've and decided to shut the engines down and the propulsion unit down," says Interislander operations acting general manager Ross Allen.
The captain dropped two anchors and requested assistance from tug boats, but not before appearing to drift close to the rocks.
"That looks about 50m or so, I can't tell from the angle," says Mr Allen.
Arahura was then towed 300m off shore so engineers could operate the ship's engines without the usual control from the bridge.
Well-known chef Martin Bosley was watching events unfold from his boatshed.
"It was leaning over 20 degrees to port, then the two tugs came over on the starboard side and it looked from here that they were trying to right the ship and pull it back up," he says.
Unlike the Aratere, KiwiRail has had few issues with the 32-year-old Arahura. But long-time critic Mr Peters says it's time KiwiRail's management was held to account.
"The Minister for Transport should step up and do something, but that's been the case for a long time," he says. "They say it's being handled by an SOE, well no one's handling it, obviously."
KiwiRail says it's working with Maritime New Zealand and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission to find what went wrong.
source: newshub archive