Kiwis on the ferry to the South Island are worried that the ferry’s safety could be compromised, with some suggesting it is not the best option to go.
Key points:There is concern that ferry boat owners have not been trained on safety and will not be able to provide adequate supervisionThe Government has launched an inquiry into the safety of the ferry operators’ fleetThe Government will announce a $5 million reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsibleThe ferry, which was due to depart from the Queenstown ferry terminal on Sunday, has been shut since Monday.
It was meant to take four hours, but by the time the ferry was due in Queenstown it had been delayed.
The Government is also investigating the safety record of the boat owners, with officials saying they had not been properly trained on what is required to maintain a safe ferry fleet.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Transport said it was important to ensure the safety and welfare of all of our passengers on our ferry fleet and the Government was aware of concerns from the public.
“Safety of the public and crew is our highest priority,” the spokeswoman said.
“The Government would like to hear from the ferry owners, operators, ferry operators and other relevant stakeholders on what has been learned about this issue and will make a public announcement when it is made available.”‘
I’m a Kiwi first, I don’t want to die’The spokeswoman said the Government had been “taking advice from the industry, industry experts, boat operators and the Minister’s Office” to help “build trust with ferry operators, and to ensure that the best safety measures are in place”.
“The best way forward is to engage with the boat operators to make sure they are operating in accordance with their licence and operating in a safe manner.”
She said that in the meantime, “we’re going to be making the decision on how we respond”.
“I’m going to do that in due course, but I’m a bit nervous about that.”
The Minister for Transport, Jacinda Ardern, has confirmed that an inquiry was being launched.
“We’re very clear we need to have the best possible safety record on the boats,” she said.
She said there were concerns that the “vast majority” of the boats that had been used in recent years had not undergone training, with the government considering putting the safety department on standby to provide assistance.
“We need to be able, when we do that, to provide a safety response and then that will help us ensure that we’re ensuring the best outcome for everyone.”
She added that the Government would make the final decision on the final fate of the company and the safety measures implemented.
Ms Arderne said she was also looking at how to reduce the number of boats on the Queenston route.
Ms Ardarne has said the Queen’s route has been “very well-received” by Kiwis.
The Government says it will announce details on how the government will respond to the issue soon.