Stena Alegra the Aratere’s ferry replacement set to make first voyage

Stena Alegra the Aratere’s ferry replacement set to make first voyageOn Monday, Spanish ferry Stena Alegra, a replacement for the crippled interisland ferry Aratere will begin its passenger service.

After Aratere lost a propeller during a Cook Strait crossing in November, the new ferry was ordered from Europe for the busy summer period.

At 5pm, on Monday The Stena Alegra will depart Wellington for Picton.

Thomas Davis, the Interislander's general manager said earlier, as a result of the service being down a ferry, the company was losing about 45 per cent of freight and passenger capacity.

With the replacement, the KiwiRail-owned company would recoup about 35 per cent of that business, helping to minimise disruption until the Aratere is back in service.

The Stena Alegra was built in 1998 in Spain.

This ship has a passenger capacity of more than 350 and a cargo capacity of about 78 trucks or 325 cars.  The passenger capacity of Aratere is 600 and its cargo capacity is 32 rail wagons and 28 trucks.

The Aratere, which underwent a revamp recently of $54 million, was expected to be out of service for up to six months.

Throughout the past week, KiwiRail staff had been working to prepare the ship by undertaking berthing trials and loading exercises, said Mr Davis.