Way down about 15 hours flight south and west of Los Angeles are Australia and New Zealand, where we are currently cruising.
Biosecurity is a very big deal here. That means they don’t want ships bringing in dangerous marine life on their hulls which can drastically hurt their marine environments. Many nonthreatening live marine things attach to boat hulls such as bacteria, plankton, sea grasses, mussels, and barnacles. Unfortunately, they attract “hitchhikers” who stowaway. These include things that I have not heard of such as sea squirt and Mediterranean fanworm. They even sound gross.
Here in New Zealand a law was passed in 2018 that basically said don’t enter our waters without a clean hull. The law is specific. ALL THAT SEEMS FAIR TO ME.
However, between then and now, no action has been taken and cruise lines continued coming as usual. Then Covid stopped cruising for a while. Now it is back big time.
In the last couple of weeks ships from seven cruise lines have been stopped from entering these waters and told to clean their hulls.
We, for example, missed two of our first 3 ports and just sat in the ocean while cleaning took place. The last cruise on this ship was even worse, and the passengers just had to remain onboard outside territorial waters while cleaning took place.
It is not a big deal to us, personally, as we have been here before and we like being with our pals at sea. However, many passengers are irate. They have never travelled this far. It is a new part of the world. It is a trip of a lifetime. They don’t have the funds or luxury just to repeat the cruise next year, for example. ALL THAT ALSO SEEMS FAIR TO ME.
So here is my take. SHAME ON THE COUNTRIES for not alerting the cruise ships that things are changing. The fact that it is law doesn’t carry much water (kind of a pun) since it hasn’t been enforced.
SHAME ON THE CRUISE LINES for taking such a costly risk to themselves hurting both financially and with negative public relations. It should have been obvious to all that environmental issues are taking a bigger role all around the world. We were warned that New Zealand has been rejecting luggage with dirty shoes.
Sure, there is a bit of financial compensation. That doesn’t fix things for the passengers.
Finally, the hull on these ships typically has at least the amount of square footage as a football field, albeit longer and narrower. It is interesting to me that several divers can clean them as well and quickly as they do.