The Interislander ferry Kaitaki arrived in to Nelson around 7am on Sunday morning. It will remain at Port Nelson for six days as it gets an engine overhaul and undergoes other repairs. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Interislander here for repairs

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About 160 engineers, painters and specialist tradespeople will be busy on the Interislander flagship Kaitaki, which arrived in Port Nelson early on Sunday for a week-long overhaul.

Port Nelson marine specialist Diverse Engineering are the prime contractors for the overhaul, and project manager Mike McDowell says they went straight to work when the Kaitaki berthed. They will be installing a new rescue boat, painting and carrying out minor repairs – the ship will also have a planned survey by Lloyd’s Register while in Port Nelson.

“We’ve got all of our 50 staff plus subcontractors on the ship, so there’s 150 to 160 in total,” Mike says. “The painting is one of the biggest jobs and we have Nicholsons and Jennex doing that.

“It’s another reasonable-sized job for us but the big thing is the time. We have to be finished on schedule because they want the ship back sailing, so we’ll have some painters and engineers on board 24-7.”

Mike says Diverse Engineering has “been on and off” the Interislander ships for a number of years and this week’s overhaul is a continuation of their work for KiwiRail. Diverse Engineering’s staff have worked on smaller jobs on their boats while they are sailing.

Kaitaki is scheduled to sail back to Wellington this Saturday at 6.30pm and will return to service the following day.