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Australia. Viking Orion cruise ship not allowed in ports. The reason: biofoul, a biologically dangerous marine growth

Australia.  Viking Orion cruise ship not allowed in ports.  The reason: biofoul, a biologically dangerous marine growth

Australia. Viking Orion cruise ship not allowed in ports. The reason: biofoul, a biologically dangerous marine growth

The Viking Orion cruise ship has been denied entry to several ports in Australia and New Zealand after a potentially harmful growth was found on the vessel’s hull. Hundreds of passengers are stranded on the cruise ship awaiting further decisions, the BBC reports.

The so-called biofoul, i.e. the accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae or even small animals, was detected on the ship’s hull. This phenomenon is potentially dangerous from a biological point of view, it could lead to the importation of invasive species into non-native habitats, explains the BBC.

The Viking Orion, a 14-deck cruise ship with a capacity of 930 people, is reported to be at anchor about 30 kilometers off the coast Australiabecause it was not allowed to enter the port of Adelaide, Australia.

“Biofoul” on the hull. The ship needs to be cleaned up

Earlier reports suggested the growth could be a fungus, but the Australian Department of Fisheries has not confirmed these reports. The ministry explained that biofouling screening is “common practice for all international ships” arriving in Australia. He added that the ship needed to be cleaned to avoid “transporting harmful marine organisms” into Australian waters.

Viking OrionBARBARA WALTON/EPA/PAP

The cleaning of the vessel, which is currently at anchor outside Australian waters, was contracted to professional divers, it said.

The luxury cruise ship left Sydney on December 22 for a two-week Christmas and New Year cruise to New Zealand. The biofoul problem was identified on December 26 while the ship was in Wellington, New Zealand. Since then, the vessel has been looking for a port that would accept it. The BBC reports that Viking Orion was also reported not to be allowed to enter the ports of Christchuch and Dunein in New Zealand and Hobart in Australia.

“Upset and angry” passengers

One of the ship’s passengers tweeted that there were more than 800 people on board. He added that many of them are “upset and angry” because of “negligence” by the company organizing the cruise.

In a statement, operator Viking Orion acknowledged that only “a limited amount of standard marine growth” had been removed from the vessel’s hull, which it added resulted in “several stops along the route being missed”.

The operator said, however, that it expects the vessel to move towards Melbourne in the coming hours. He added that talks were underway with passengers about possible “compensation” for the inconvenience.

BBC, The Maritime Executive

Main photo source: BARBARA WALTON/EPA/PAP

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