Arrest made in ferry bomb scare

Cook Strait ferries came to a standstill as specialist crews combed the area. File Photo.

A 33-year old man has appeared in court in connection with an alleged bomb threat that brought the Cook Strait ferries to a standstill.

Harley John Davies was arrested in connection  with an alleged threat directed at the Cook Strait ferry services in Picton yesterday.

He appeared at Blenheim District Council this morning charged with threatening to harm people/property.

He was denied bail and remains in custody.

Hundreds of distressed passengers were evacuated from the Bluebridge and Interislander ferries and terminals following reports a bomb was on site.

Specialist search crews were flown over from Wellington to comb the site.

Marlborough Area Commander Inspector Simon Feltham said staff had located the alleged offender yesterday.

“We appreciate today's incident caused considerable disruption and distress for many.

"I would like to acknowledge our Specialist Search Group staff who flew from Wellington to complete an extensive search of both the terminal buildings and ferries, and the investigation team who identified and located the alleged offender,” he says

All passengers disembarked from the two ferries and were taken to a safe waiting point as police search crews boarded both the Interislander and Bluebridge ferries in Picton.

Both ferry terminals were painstakingly searched by officers in protective gear accompanied by a sniffer dog.

Police say “nothing of significance” was uncovered and are thanking those affected for their patience as the event unfolded.

“Police would like to thank both the Interislander and Bluebridge companies, and the public, for their patience while we continue to work to resolve this incident,” a police spokesman says.