An Australian cruise ship, the “Pacific Adventure”, had its 13-day “Kiwi Adventure” voyage take an unexpected detour as it was turned away from New Zealand shores. The reason? Biosecurity concerns raised by issues on the ship’s hull.
Biosecurity New Zealand expressed worry over the ship’s hull, specifically noting high levels of ‘biofouling’ – unwanted organisms that could pose a threat to New Zealand’s unique environment.
Despite efforts by P&O to clean the hull, adverse weather conditions forced the abandonment of the mission.
The ship left Sydney with the intention of a hull cleaning near the Bay of Plenty, adhering to biosecurity regulations. Unfortunately, the weather made underwater cleaning too hazardous, resulting in the cruise ship being denied entry into Aotearoa.
Biosecurity authorities highlighted the presence of high-risk mussel and oyster growth on the vessel, emphasizing the significant threat posed by biofouling to New Zealand’s environment, marine ecosystems, aquaculture industry, and economy.
With almost 90 percent of exotic marine species and growth arriving on international vessels, Inglis stressed the importance of adhering to biosecurity rules to protect the nation. Despite the setback, P&O swiftly rerouted the ship to Tasmania, offering compensation to the nearly 2800 guests who were informed in advance about potential changes to their itinerary.
This incident underscores the critical role of biosecurity measures, even in the world of high seas adventures. Biosecurity New Zealand is now collaborating closely with cruise lines to ensure stringent protocols are maintained as vessels set sail during the upcoming summer season.