SYDNEY (Reuters) – A ferry ran aground in New Zealand during an island crossing, but there were no injuries although 47 people unable to disembark had to spend the night aboard in an incident the government described on Saturday as “very concerning”.

Operated by state-owned enterprise KiwiRail, the Interislander Aratere ferry ran aground in Friday’s incident near the town of Picton, on the north coast of the South Island.

“It’s great there’s been no loss of life and that everyone on board is safe,” Transport Minister Simeon Brown said in a press conference accessed on the New Zealand Herald news site.

“That is certainly the top priority.”

About 47 people spent the night on the ferry after it ran aground just after 10 p.m. the site said.

The refloating of the ferry, part of a fleet that links Wellington, the capital, and Picton is scheduled for late on Saturday night.

An investigation into the “very concerning” incident had been launched, said Brown, who posted on X on Friday ruling out the risk of oil pollution.

KiwiRail says the fleet ferries nearly 800,000 passengers across the Cook Strait in 4,000 journeys a year.

(Reporting by Sam McKeith in Sydney; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Brought to you by www.srnnews.com