Cruise lines hope to avoid bio-chaos of last year’s New Zealand visits

Cruise lines are working desperately to ensure that they do not suffer a repeat of last year’s embarrassments when New Zealand’s strict biohazard regulations resulted in many ships being refused entry to Fiordland National Park.

That forced the affected or potentially affected lines to hire divers to undertake some emergency hull cleaning. New Zealand has had strict regulations in place for many years, but last year, as the market opened up again following two years of Covid-induced isolation, New Zealand got tough. Many ships were turned away after New Zealand biosecurity officials demanded hull cleaning certificates which were no more than 30 days old. The Grand Princess (IMO 9104005), a frequent visitor to new Zealand last summer, was one of the victims. It is scheduled to make several calls on the country in 2023/24.

Paul Hallett, Environmental Health Manager, Biosecurity New Zealand said that there had been considerable contact between Biosecurity New Zealand and vessel operators in the lead-up to the 2023/2024 cruise season. He noted that the regulations would remain in place, but that the cruise  lines now had a better understanding of how to meet environmental standards.

“Following consultation with the cruise industry, we are considering introducing a new vessel standard later this year that will result in some changes for future seasons”.

For international ships heading to New Zealand, one popular “last-stop” cleaning region could well be Singapore, which is well within the 30-day time limit required by the NZ authorities.

1998-built, Bermuda-flagged, 107,517 gt Grand Princess is owned by Fairline Shipping International Corp care of Princess Cruise Lines Ltd of Valencia, California, USA.