Australian cruise ship arrested for biofuel cleanup will compensate passengers

Viking Cruises will compensate hundreds of passengers on its Orion cruise ship after the cruisers were forced to stay on board and miss several ports of call because authorities blocked access to the port due to marine growth on the hull of the ship.

The Viking Orion, with a capacity of 930 passengers, docked in Sydney on Wednesday, the last leg of a 15-day cruise and 9 stopovers in New Zealand and Australia.

But plans went awry, local media reported, after New Zealand officials asked the ship to leave the country’s waters midway through its cruise after finding small amounts of biofouling – plants, algae and small animals – which grow on the hulls of ships.

Heading straight for the port of Adelaide, South Australia, and bypassing planned stops in Tasmania and the South Island of New Zealand, authorities stopped the ship about 12 nautical miles out to sea. while professional divers cleaned the hull.

The four-year-old luxury vessel completed its voyage as planned with stops in Melbourne and Sydney.

Stranded on board for eight days, Miami-based lawyer Julie Reby Waas said missing scheduled stops like Tasmania was “hugely disappointing”, but that wouldn’t deter her from resuming the cruise.

“Most of the people I think on the ship have kept their composure and retained their sense of humor,” Reby Waas told Reuters.

“I think everyone is fed up. The ship is beautiful, but you know, there’s not a lot of space to explore, and so I guess (it’s) claustrophobic in some ways.”

Viking confirmed to Reuters in a statement that all guests would receive a voucher equal to what they had already paid for use on future trips.

Tickets for a 15-day cruise from Auckland to Sydney departing January 10 range from A$8,995 ($6,066.23) to A$29,995 ($20,341) on the Viking website.

Viking’s Orion is the second cruise ship to clash with New Zealand authorities in the past month. New Zealand fisheries officials blocked the Coral Princess cruise ship from entering the country’s waters in December after finding snails on the hull.

Top: Archive image of the Viking Orion cruise ship in 2020. Photo via Getty Images.

Leave a Comment