Interislander ferry Aratere refloated after grounding near Picton

The Interislander ferry Aratere was successfully refloated with the assistance of port Marlborough tugs Maungatea and Monowai. Authorities responded to the grounding of the interisland ferry Aratere approximately 1.5 nautical miles (2.8 km) north of Picton in Titoko Bay. No injuries and no environmental issues were reported according to authorities.

The government agency Maritime New Zealand reported on Saturday June 22 that the “Aratere” was undertaking a freight only voyage and had approximately 40 people on board. There have been no injuries reported and there is no danger to life. There is also no water ingress (entering the vessel) and no oil going into the marine environment.

The operation was undertaken by KiwiRail supported by a team of global experts and in collaboration with Maritime New Zealand, Port Marlborough New Zealand, and Marlborough District Council Harbour Master.

The “Aratere” will now move to a safe anchorage in Picton Harbour overnight to re-ballast and stabilise the vessel before returning to Picton Wharf.

“We understand from KiwiRail that there are no injuries, the vessel is watertight, and there are no environmental issues,” the port reported on Friday June 21, adding that the Marlborough District Council Harbourmaster as regulator has enforced a 500m exclusion zone in the harbour and will be patrolling.

The port mobilised its marine and pilotage teams, and two of its tugs.

Port Marlborough CE Rhys Welbourn said: “We are pleased with the successful operation and with the collaborative and positive work shown by all parties involved. The teams have shown their responsiveness and professionalism, and I’m very proud of our people here at Port Marlborough for their contributions to the recovery.”

KiwiRail CE Peter Reidy noted: “I am delighted with the successful operation, and we’re extremely grateful for the help and support of MNZ, PMNZ, the Harbour Master, our people, experts and customers, and authorities on the ground in Picton.”

Transport Minister Simeon Brown posted on X that “Aratere” has been pulled off the shore and is now floating.