TORONTO — It’s been a week-long ordeal for passengers onboard the Viking Orion, which has been denied permission to dock in New Zealand and Australia due to potentially harmful marine growth on its hull.
According to BBC News, officials in Adelaide denied permission for the ship to dock earlier this week after discovering ‘biofoul,’ an accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae or small animals that can import invasive species into non-native habitats. Professional divers were used to clean the hull while the ship was anchored outside Australian waters.
Viking Orion was also denied permission to dock at Christchurch and Dunedin in New Zealand, and Hobart, Tasmania.
Passengers have reported being stuck onboard since Dec. 26, resulting in four missed port stops. The ship was originally scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on Jan. 2, however, passengers were reportedly told they would only be permitted to disembark momentarily for an immigration check. They are now scheduled to disembark in Sydney on Jan. 4.
In a statement, Viking said that it is “working directly with guests on compensation for the impact to their voyage.” The captain apologized to guests, telling them that a member of Viking’s customer relations team would be making an “adjusted offer of compensation” to guests in the coming days.
The news about Viking Orion comes on the heels of Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess, which also underwent cleaning on Dec. 23 in waters around New Zealand after the discovery of an infestation of non-native snails.