Passengers on a luxury New Year’s Eve cruise around New Zealand and Australia have been stranded at sea for a week after ‘sea growth’ has settled on the hull that could have damaged the ecosystem.
According to the Australian government, divers had to remove “biofoul”, a build-up of microorganisms, plants, algae or small animals, from the Viking Orion, a 930-seater vessel, while it was at anchor in international waters.
The cleanup was necessary to protect Australian waters from “potentially harmful marine organisms,” the Department of Fisheries said in a statement to AFP.
The Viking Orion, a 2018-built nine-story building complete with a spa, theater, expansive sports area and swimming pool, left Auckland, New Zealand, on Dec. 23 but made no further stops after departing Wellington, the New Zealand capital Dec. 26, according to the Tracking website vesselfinder.com.
However, stops were planned in Christchurch and Dunedin, New Zealand, as well as in Hobart, the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania, before Melbourne, Australia, where the ship docked on Monday evening.
In the meantime, the Viking Orion has anchored and been cleaned up in international waters off the Australian city of Adelaide, according to the location agency.
The Viking Company confirmed that they had to remove “a limited amount of common marine growth” from the hull.
“Although the ship had to miss several stops on this route in order to be able to carry out the necessary cleaning, it should resume the current route,” Viking said in a statement sent to AFP.
“Viking is working directly with guests to seek compensation for the impact on their trip,” the company added, declining to give further details.