Friday, March 10, 2006

Slamming the Quay

One problem Melbourne does not have. Wonderful stuff.
From Sydney Daily Telegraph

Jinxed ferry still in exile

March 10, 2006

A MANLY ferry will next week have been out of service for nearly six months.

Today is the 174th day the ferry Collaroy has spent floating in the Balmain shipyard.

The accident-prone ferry was stood down for repairs on September 19 after slamming into Circular Quay.

As Transport Minister John Watkins baulks at allowing the Collaroy back on the Harbour, tens of thousands of dollars are being spent every day to charter private vessels.

The Daily Telegraph revealed in January that a whale-watching cruiser had been chartered at $20,000 a day to replace the Collaroy over summer.

Called Ocean Dreaming, the vessel was found unsuitable as a ferry and spent the majority of its lucrative contract period tied up.

Sydney Ferries mechanics say the Collaroy has been ready to return to work for months, but Mr Watkins is unwilling to risk another crash or breakdown.

In a shambolic year for Sydney Ferries, the Collaroy twice ploughed into the backboards at Circular Quay in 2005.

Asked whether the major overhaul of its Japanese-made propulsion system should take so long one ferry worker admitted: "You could build a totally new ferry in six months."

Ferries management yesterday issued a statement to explain the Collaroy's absence.

The organisation – now led by former RAN Rear Admiral Chris Oxenbould after the sacking of chief executive Sue Sinclair a fortnight ago – said the ferry would return once "important safety initiatives are implemented".

"The plan includes a series of engineering trials, vessel specific crew resource management training and long-term planned maintenance," a spokesman said.

Mr Watkins defended the Collaroy's long holiday as part of a $6.5 million plan to improve the 30-strong fleet.

"Sydney Ferries has advised me that a return to service plan for the Collaroy is being developed," Mr Watkins said.

Opposition transport spokesman Barry O'Farrell said Mr Watkins was stalling in letting the Collaroy back out on the Harbour.

"It's one thing to (respect) safety, it's another thing to be so gun-shy of adverse publicity that you let a good ferry rust at Balmain," Mr O'Farrell said.


  1. Anonymous6:38 pm

    Another fantastic article written by the one and only Heath Aston

  2. Do you have a connection to him?


Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.