KiwiRail is to replace its 31-year-old Cook Strait rail ferry Arahura with the Swedish-owned ferry Stena Alegra. The ferry would be chartered for five years and would undergo a significant upgrade before arriving in New Zealand. It would also be renamed before being put into service in mid-2015.

The Stena Alegra is currently moored off the Indonesian side of Singapore Strait awaiting propeller and other repairs.

The 21,000 tonne Spanish-built Stena Alegra was chartered by InterIslander as a six month replacement vessel earlier this year for the Aratere, which lost a propeller last November when a shaft broke. Stena Alegra had a troubled time of it during its six month service on the Cook Strait run. In January this year it broke down in Wellington Harbour with an engine problem. Three months later it hit a wharf while berthing in Wellington and suffered a six- metre long gash to its hull above the waterline. And in May this year a propeller blade fell off while the ferry was at sea. Before being chartered by Interislander, Stena Alegra operated on a route between Poland and Sweden.

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