All Interislander passenger ferries due to sail on Sunday have been canceled after several crew members tested positive for Covid-19.
Interislander executive managing director Walter Rushbrook told 1News: “The number of positive cases in our team has now reached a point where it is affecting our ability to carry passengers, and where we cannot meet the levels minimum crew, we will have to cancel the crossings.”
Rushbrook said freight travel will still work “to keep the crucial supply chain moving”.
He said a minimum number of employees is needed to operate a ferry safely.
“To date, we have been able to minimize impacts to our operations with crews working extra shifts and moving people between ships to fill crewing gaps.
“However, safety requirements and maritime regulations mean that ships need a minimum number of specialist personnel to operate the vessel safely,” Rushbrook said.
He said it is expected there will be further disruption to services beyond Sunday, “ongoing testing may reveal positive Covid results for additional staff in crucial areas”.
“An unfortunate reality is that passengers will face disruption during Omicron’s peak. When we contact customers, options will be offered to provide a full refund or rebook for a later date,” he said. declared.
Any customers disturbed by Sunday’s cancellations have already been contacted by Interislander.
Rushbrook added that the team “is doing everything that can be done in the circumstances to ensure that freight supply chains are maintained and that we keep people moving safely through the Cook Strait” .
He said the Valentine, a freight vessel leased by Kiwirail to ease the pressure on critical ferry service, is undergoing a maintenance call, but “we are looking at options to complete this work sooner and bring it back to life.” service as soon as possible.”