A design fault in the wheelhouse of the ferries is causing reflection issues for the crew at night, with significant structural rectification work to address the problem likely to take months.
While work will be carried out incrementally on the vessels to rectify the problem in coming months, they will operate only when the sun is up until the issue is solved. The River-class ferries are expected to enter service on the harbour and Parramatta River in the next few weeks, according to Transdev.
The ferries will also not be able to pass under several bridges if passengers are seated on the top deck, and have experienced stalling issues when braking under emergency conditions.
Ms Haylen said the NSW government needed to ensure future ferries were sourced from local manufacturers to avoid the litany of problems discovered upon their arrival.
“[Transport Minister] Andrew Constance’s new ferries are now well beyond a joke. His River-class ferries still can’t operate at night and the new Manly ferries are leaking,” Ms Haylen said.
Mr Constance said the trial process for new ferries served to ensure any potential issues were found and addressed.
“It’s great to see [manufacturer] Birdon has quickly resolved this rudder seal issue, and we look forward to seeing the new Emerald Class ferries entering customer service,” Mr Constance said.
Delays to the arrival of the Emerald-class ferries were due to flooding in Port Macquarie earlier this year, where work was being carried out on the vessels.
The government had originally planned for the new Emerald-class ferries to replace the two Freshwaters in mid-2021, with the Freshwater ferries first slated to be removed from service in the second quarter of the year.
Named after beaches in Sydney’s north, the first of the double-ended ferries, the Freshwater, was launched in 1982, followed by the Queenscliff less than a year later, the Narrabeen in 1984 and the Collaroy in 1988. They can each carry about 1000 passengers, compared with about 400 on the new Emerald-class ferries.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.