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Montevideo, July 22nd 2024 - 18:15 UTC

 

 

Message from Australia to cruise vessels, “brush your hulls before coming to Australian ports”

Tuesday, January 3rd 2023 - 10:00 UTC
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The Australian fisheries department said the ship had to be cleaned to avoid “harmful marine organisms being transported” into Australian waters. The Australian fisheries department said the ship had to be cleaned to avoid “harmful marine organisms being transported” into Australian waters.

The cruise vessel Viking Orion, with some 800 passengers, was denied permission to dock in Adelaide after Australian authorities discovered a “marine growth” on the ship, which is called “biofoul” and is considered potentially harmful.

Officials said the ship's hull must be cleared before entering the country.

Biofoul is an accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae, or small animal and can allow the importation of invasive species into non-native habitats.

The Australian fisheries department said the management of fungus was a “common practice for all arriving international vessels” and said that the ship had to be cleaned to avoid “harmful marine organisms being transported” into Australian waters.

“Professional divers were engaged directly by the vessel line/agent to clean the hull while at anchor outside Australian waters,” it added.

The ship was also reportedly denied permission to dock at Christchurch, Dunedin and Hobart. One passenger wrote on Twitter that over 800 guests remained onboard, many of whom were “upset and angry” by the company's “negligence”.

The 14-deck, 930-person ship - which was built in 2018 - has reportedly dropped anchor around 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 apologized 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.

Categories: Environment, International.

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