Hibbard ferry returns to service

Ferry latest: The Settlement Point ferry.The Hibbard ferry will return to service by the end of the month.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s group manager, Duncan Clarke, said the ferry was being inspected on dry dock for its routine maintenance.

“As part of the maritime regulations and compliance for commercial vessel licensing, the Hibbard ferry is currently being inspected. It is expected that the ferry will be put back into service by the end of November,” he said.

The ferry has been out of action for about six weeks with all ferry river transfers operating via the Settlement Point service.

However, continued mechanical and intermittent hydraulic issues have hampered that service.These issues saw a disruption to service on November 3.

“A decision was made to take the ferry out of service at6.15amand on-site remedial works were undertaken to ensure immediate continuation of service. Council sourced a tug boat from Birdon Marine to later guide the passenger ferry across the river whilst mechanics investigated the fault,” Mr Clarke said.

“The problem was diagnosed and found that the hydraulic motor that drives the ferry had malfunctioned and required replacing.

“A new motor was fittedon Mondaynight by mechanics and expert hydraulic contractors. Works also included extensive cleaning and flushing of the hydraulic system.

“On completion of the hydraulic motor being fitted testing of the system revealed further damage had been done to other hydraulic components from metal passing through the hydraulic pump and mooring control system.

“The tug was retained to propel the ferry while council staff organised the delivery and installation of a new hydraulic pump.”

Further complications saw the ferry taken out of service on November 7. During this time councilmechanics and expert hydraulic contractors replaced the ferry’s hydraulic pump and hoses.

After recommencing service, hydraulic issues again saw the service disrupted after a hydraulic hose failed.

“During all service disruptions a punt was available for emergency transport across the river.

“Progress updates were provided on council’s and north shore’s Facebook pages, visual signage at the ferries, on radio and direct via ferry operators and Council staff working at the Settlement Point ferry.”

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