Fisheries & Fish Industry

Ferry crashes into fishing boat, leaves 21yo locked in abandoned wharf at night

Ferry crashes into fishing boat, leaves 21yo locked in abandoned wharf at night

The Birkenhead wharf on-ramp and security door that Arehana Anderson was locked behind alone at 9.00pm on September 11.

Tom Dillane

The Birkenhead wharf on-ramp and security door that Arehana Anderson was locked behind alone at 9.00pm on September 11.

At 9pm on a Sunday night, Arehana Anderson was dropped at a locked and abandoned Birkenhead wharf, after her ferry was delayed by a collision with a fishing boat.

Anderson, 21, who was trapped on the gangplank, could see a security guard in the wharf carpark and called her grandmother, who lives five minutes away, to come and get his attention.

Anderson was freed, but describes the experience of trying to get a response from Auckland Transport afterwards as an “ordeal”.

Gay Pemberton's 21-year-old granddaughter was trapped in this ferry on-ramp after being dropped at the locked and ...

TOM DILLANE/FAIRFAX NZ

Gay Pemberton’s 21-year-old granddaughter was trapped in this ferry on-ramp after being dropped at the locked and abandoned Birkenhead wharf, on Auckland’s North Shore.

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Her grandmother, Gay Pemberton, called AT six times over the next month trying to get them to acknowledge its staff had locked the wharf up early.

Anderson says AT treated her grandmother: “so absolutely rudely, I’m incredibly unhappy with their head office”.

Eventually a letter from AT reached Pemberton on October 14 maintaining: “On checking the crew logs from the day in the question, we can confirm that the last sailing of the night arrived and then departed, from Birkenhead as scheduled.”

The letter, from “Alexandra”, also states, because the event occurred back in September “any CCTV of the incident has now been erased”.

Pemberton says her dealings with AT demonstrated a complete lack of responsibility.

“Let’s pass the buck on. Nobody there seems to know who’s who or what’s what or even cares,” Pemberton says.

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“You get sent an official letter signed by a Christian name, nobody knows who they are. How can transport in the city run with an organisation like that?”

In contrast, Fullers ferries acknowledged the harbour collision the day after the September 11 incident, apologised, and gave two complimentary tickets to Waiheke.

Finally, on October 26, an email from AT ferry services manager Christine Herbert was sent to Anderson acknowledging and apologising for the incident.

Herbert said AT has now extended the security hours of Birkenhead ferry terminal from 8.45pm on Sunday to 9.00pm, and briefed staff to ensure all ferries have arrived before they close the facility.

AT media manager Mark Hannan says gaps in the initial information provided to AT prevented them from investigating the matter in a “timely fashion”.

Maritime New Zealand is investigating the September 11 ferry crash on Auckland Harbour. No one was injured.

 – Stuff

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