Passengers on a luxury New Year’s Eve cruise around New Zealand and Australia have been stranded for a week at sea due to ‘marine growth’ clinging to the hull, potentially damaging the ecosystem.
According to the Australian government, divers had to remove a “biofoul,” a buildup of microorganisms, plants, algae or small animals, from the Viking Orion, a 930-seater ship, while it was moored in international waters.
The Department of Fisheries said in a statement sent to Agence France-Presse that the clean-up was necessary to protect Australian waters from “potentially dangerous marine organisms.”
The Viking Orion, a nine-storey building built in 2018 with a spa, theater, extensive sports area and swimming pool, left Auckland, New Zealand on December 23, but has not stopped after its departure from Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, on December 26, according to tracking website Vesselfinder. com.
But stops were planned in Christchurch and Dunedin in New Zealand, as well as in Hobart, the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania, before Melbourne, in Australia, where the ship docked on Monday night.
Meanwhile, Viking Orion has anchored and cleaned up in international waters off the Australian city of Adelaide, according to the tracking website.
Viking maintained that it had to remove “a limited amount of normal marine growth” from the ship’s hull.
“Although the ship had to stop several times on this route in order to carry out the necessary cleaning work, it must resume the current course,” Viking said in a statement sent to AFP.
“Viking is working directly with guests on compensation for the impact on their travel,” the company added, declining to give further details.
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