- Hundreds of passengers have been stranded on a cruise ship off the Australian coast after a potentially harmful growth was found on its hull.
- The Viking Orion was denied permission to dock in Adelaide after authorities discovered “biofoul” – an accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae or small animals.
A recent news article published in the BBC talks about Viking Orion: Cruise passengers stranded after marine growth halts ship.
Ship had to be cleaned
This can allow invasive species to be imported into non-native habitats.
Officials said the ship’s hull must be cleaned before entering Australia.
“Professional divers were engaged directly by the vessel line/agent to clean the hull while at anchor outside Australian waters,” it added.
Kenn Heydrick, a passenger, said they had not been able to leave the ship since 26 December. Four scheduled port stops had been missed, he said.
“The intensity of frustration and anger is growing among passengers,” he said.
“The majority of passengers are trying to make the best of things and enjoy extended time at sea. But it is the excursions at four ports that we were looking forward to, and now are greatly missed.”
The current itinerary has the vessel arriving in Melbourne on 2 January.
However, passenger Matt Roberts said they have now been told they will only be allowed off the boat momentarily, to be checked by immigration. The next chance for passengers to disembark will be on 4 January in Sydney.
He said the disruption was a shame – “because for many travellers, this might be their last opportunity to see this part of the world”.
Another passenger called the holiday a “trip from hell” on Twitter.
“I have cried repeatedly for both the significant financial hit after saving for two years and the loss of memories and experiences,” she said.
The 14-deck, 930-person ship – which was built in 2018 – has reportedly dropped anchor about 17 miles (27km) off the coast while the cleaning occurs.
In a statement, operator Viking admitted that a “limited amount of standard marine growth” was being cleared from the ship’s hull and said that this had caused the vessel to “miss several stops on this itinerary”.
But it said that it expected to sail towards the city of Melbourne in the coming hours, where it would dock on 2 January.
“Viking is working directly with guests on compensation for the impact to their voyage,” it added.
In a letter on Friday, the ship’s captain apologised that “the current cruise falls short of your expectations” and said a member of Viking’s customer relations team would make an “adjusted offer of compensation” to guests in the coming days.
Another cruise ship travelling in waters around New Zealand suffered a similar fate after the discovery of an infestation of snails that were not native to the area.
Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess underwent cleaning on 23 December, with passengers missing out on part of their itinerary, before the ship went on to dock in Christchurch, New Zealand on Christmas Day as planned.
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