Passengers stranded on cruise ship that left NZ

MELBOURNE, 2 Jan 2023:

Hundreds of passengers have been stranded on a cruise ship for a week after it was denied docking at ports in Australia and New Zealand – due to “marine growth” on the ship’s hull.

It was reportedly denied permission for cleaning in Christchurch, Dunedin and Hobart – after leaving Wellington on Boxing Day, part way through the trip.

Before it could dock in Adelaide, authorities ordered it wait outside Australian waters for cleaning of biofoul (microorganisms, plants, algae or small animals).

“Professional divers were engaged directly by the vessel line/agent to clean the hull while at anchor outside Australian waters.” The Viking Orion’s company said it plans to dock the ship later today in Melbourne.

The ship “needed to miss several stops on this itinerary in order for the required cleaning to be conducted” and the company “is working directly with guests on compensation for the impact to their voyage,” a Viking spokesman said in a statement.

Passenger Kenn Heydrick tweeted on New Year’s Day: “Our @VikingCruises trip to NZ & Australia missed 4 of 8 ports b/c of dirty/biohazard ship hull.”

“800 people, mainly Americans, are upset and angry over negligence. Viking Orion. Disappointing after 2 years of waiting, anticipation, & $$$$. Help please,” he added.

Australia and New Zealand have strict environmental policies to prevent the entry of invasive species that endanger the delicate and unique ecosystems of these Pacific nations.