Waiting passengers, staff and local residents watched as one of the island's passenger ferries limped into Matiatia with plumes of white smoke billowing from its bow.The dear old Starflyte obviously isn't up to doing the long Matiatia runs intensively.
While waiting for the fire crew to arrive, Fullers Ferries' staff member Jim Hannan cleared the wharf and waiting room, ushering customers to the safety of the car park, just after 1.30pm on Monday.
"I was on my way home when I heard a bang and saw smoke coming from the Starflyte as she came round the corner of the bay," says Mr Hannan. "So I got everyone to the car park."
Fullers' operations manager Ian Greenslade says on board the ferry, crew had noticed a loss of power as the vessel came through "the heads" - and smoke in the cabin. Staff moved passengers to the outside top deck while a deck hand put out a small fire in the engine room with a fire extinguisher.
Once alongside the wharf, passengers were evacuated and fire crews from three fire tenders took over, opening vents to cool down the engine room.
No one was hurt in the incident.
Maintenance personnel from Fullers arrived and, according to Mr Greenslade, were able to take the Starflyte back to Auckland using one engine, with initial tests showing a problem with the vessel's turbo charger.
A replacement boat from recently acquired 360 Discovery was used to transport the waiting passengers to Auckland.
Mr Greenslade says the Starflyte will be out of action for around a week while parts are flown in from Switzerland. Meanwhile the Quickcat, which has been out of service on survey, is due back this Friday.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Starflyte billowing white smoke (but no new pope elected)
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