Australia.  New Year’s Eve trip turns into a fiasco due to extremely dirty hull

Australia. New Year’s Eve trip turns into a fiasco due to extremely dirty hull

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.

The ship was finally able to dock on Monday in Melbourne (Australia).

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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 that the cleanup was necessary to protect Australian waters from “potentially harmful marine organisms”.

All stops have been cancelled

The Viking Orion, a nine-storey building built in 2018 with a spa, theatre, extensive sports area and swimming pool, left Auckland, New Zealand on December 23, but it didn’t stop after its departure from Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, on December 26. According to the Vesselfinder tracking website. But stops are planned in Christchurch and Dunedin in New Zealand, as well as in Hobart, the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania, before Melbourne.

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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 they had to remove “a limited amount of normal marine growth” from the ship’s hull. “Although the ship has had to make several non-stops on this route in order to perform the necessary cleaning, it is expected that she will resume the current route,” Viking Cruises said in a statement. “Viking is working directly with guests about compensating for the impact on their travel,” the company added, declining to give further details.

Blame the epidemic?

According to Paul Hallett, biosecurity officer at the New Zealand Department of Agriculture and Forestry, cited New Zealand HeraldAlmost 90% of marine parasites reach the country on the submerged surfaces of international ships. These pests can have a negative impact on New Zealand’s economy and environment. This is why New Zealand has some of the highest biofouling standards in the world.”

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For Craig Harris, managing director of McKay Shipping, stopping ships during the pandemic could be part of the problem. “They are usually placed in a dry dock and their hulls cleaned and painted.” But “at the moment there is a shortage of divers or underwater cleaners around the world.”

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