MV Kaitaki in Wellington Harbour
|Owner:||Irish Continental Group|
|Port of registry:|
|Route:||Wellington to Picton (from 2005)|
|Builder:||Van der Giessen de Noord, Rotterdam, Netherlands|
|Laid down:||3 August 1994|
|Launched:||1 January 1995|
|Acquired:||15 May 1995|
|In service:||23 May 1995|
|Identification:||IMO number: 9107942|
|Length:||181.6 m (596 ft)|
|Beam:||23.4 m (77 ft)|
|Draught:||5.30 m (17 ft 5 in)|
|Speed:||20.5 knots (38.0 km/h; 23.6 mph)|
The ship was built at Van der Giessen de Noord shipyard in the Netherlands, and was launched in 1995 as the Isle of Innisfree for the Irish Ferries route between Holyhead and Dublin. She remained on that route for two years before being replaced by another vessel built by Van der Giessen de Noord, the Isle of Inishmore, which offered greater passenger and vehicle capacity. She then moved to the Pembroke Dock - Rosslare route, replacing the 1981-built Isle of Inishturk, where she remained for four years before again being replaced by the Isle of Inishmore, which herself had been replaced by the Ulysses. Isle of Innisfree was initially sent to Dublin for lay up and then to Le Havre, where she remained until July 2002.
In 2002 the Isle of Innisfree was chartered by P&O Portsmouth and was sent to Falmouth in July of that year for refit. She emerged as Pride of Cherbourg, the third ship to carry this name. Extra cabins were installed on deck 7 to make her more suitable for the longer Portsmouth-Cherbourg crossing, but while in service with P&O she was often criticized for not having enough cabins compared with the vessels she replaced. Pride of Cherbourg entered service in September 2002, replacing the second Pride of Le Havre, and operated alongside the Pride of Hampshire until the end of the month when she was also withdrawn.[clarification needed] P&O Portsmouth became part of P&O Ferries at the end of that year, but the Pride of Cherbourg did not receive the new colours of the company until her refit in 2004, which also removed most traces of her Irish Ferries roots, moved the club lounge to aft on deck 7 and introduced the same brand names for the facilities as on the Dover ships.
On 28 September 2004 P&O Ferries announced the withdrawal of all its Portsmouth services except to Bilbao. Pride of Cherbourg's last crossing for P&O was on 14 January, from Cherbourg to Portsmouth. P&O subchartered her to Stena Roro as a short-term replacement for Stena Baltica, which was undergoing rebuilding work. Pride of Cherbourg sailed for Gdańsk, where all her exterior P&O branding was removed and she was renamed Stena Challenger. The Stena Challenger sailed on Stena Line's Karlskrona—Gdynia service from February until June 2005. After completing her service with Stena Line she was sub-chartered again, to Interislander. Before leaving for New Zealand her name was shortened to Challenger, with its Māori translation, Kaitaki, also appearing on its bow, being used for marketing purposes (the other two Interislander ferries, Arahura and Aratere have Māori names). In April 2007 the ship was officially renamed Kaitaki. She is the only Interislander ferry without a rail deck for the transport of railway wagons.
In 2009, it was announced that the initial five-year lease would be extended and that she would have to be returned to Stena Line on 30 June 2013. The lease has been renewed again on 16 April 2013 until 2017 with the option to extend another three years afterwards.
|Deck 10||Sun deck|
|Deck 9||Bridge / Crew Accommodation / Crew Services|
|Deck 8||Passenger deck / Foodcourt / Bar|
Passenger deck / Café
|Deck 6||Crew accommodation|
|Deck 5||Upper vehicle deck
Commercial drivers accommodation
|Deck 4||Crew accommodation|
|Deck 3||Main vehicle deck|
|Deck 2||Passenger deck / Playground / Cinemas|
- Asklander, Micke. "M/S Isle of Innisfree (1995)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 12 December 2008.
- "Facts and Figures - Kaitaki | Interislander". Interislander. Retrieved 12 December 2008.
- "Three more years for Interisland ferry". Wellington.Scoop. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- "Strait ferries weigh on government books". Television New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- "KiwiRail to renew Kaitaki lease". marlborough-express. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
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