The 14-deck Viking Orion was stranded 16 miles off the coast of Adelaide, Australia due to the presence of a mysterious sea slug. To make the best of the situation, the crew offered lobster dinner, champagne and additional entertainment to keep passengers entertained and happy during the delay.
After passengers were stranded at sea for seven days, many are now fervently hoping to return to shore. How much longer do they have to wait?
Since leaving Wellington, New Zealand, the day after Christmas, the ship has been denied permission to call at Christchurch, Dunedin and Hobart. Australian authorities issued a stern warning to the Viking Orion, ordering the ship’s agent to ensure the hull is thoroughly cleaned before it can enter Australian waters.
“The ship will need to be hull cleaned to remove biofouling and prevent potentially harmful marine organisms from being carried by the ship,” Australia’s Department of Fisheries said yesterday. “Commercial divers were contracted directly by the shipping company/agent to clean the hull while anchored outside Australian waters.”
A Viking representative told The guard The ship would set sail for Melbourne and resume its itinerary by Monday, but the New York Times reports Passengers may not be able to set foot on dry land until the end of this week.
“A limited amount of standard marine growth will be removed from the ship’s hull – a standard cleaning procedure for seagoing vessels,” Viking Cruises said in a statement emailed to The Guardian on Sunday. “These unfortunate passengers have been stranded at sea for far too long and it’s about time they finally set foot on land.”
On Friday, the ship’s captain apologized to the passengers for the current circumstances. “Viking is working directly with guests to seek compensation for the impact on their voyage,” said Captain Marko Snajdar
This isn’t the first bio-fouling incident to hit the cruise industry. Last month, passengers on the Coral Princess had to skip two stops on their voyage around New Zealand after an infestation of non-native mollusks had to be cleaned from the hull.
The Viking Orion was originally called Viking Spirit. It was Renamed Orion in 2018 in honor of retired NASA astronaut Anna Fisher.
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