Maritime New Zealand investigates how a cruise liner hit objects underwater in New Zealand waters twice within a month this summer.
L'Austral grounded in the subantarctic Snares Islands on January 9, with the hull breached and the damage limited to one ballast tank. The ballast tank was empty at the time so there was no pollution, while no crew members or passengers injured. L'Austral was forced to make an unscheduled stopover in Bluff to deal with the issue following the grounding.
Exactly a month after Snares Islands incident, L'Austral also grounded when entering Milford Sound, Maritime New Zealand said. The luxury ship grounded south of Dale Point at Milford Sound at approximately 5.55 a.m. on February 9. There were no injuries to crew or passengers, no water ingress into the ship, and no pollution.
Environment Southland chief executive, Rob Phillips, in a report to a council meeting says "a vessel grazed a rock on entry to Milford Sound in early February 2017".
L'Austral is a luxury cruise yacht with 132 cabins and was added to the fleet in 2011.
Cruise New Zealand executive officer Kevin O'Sullivan said said it was "most unusual" for any cruise ships to have incidents off New Zealand, but this season there had been four incidents.
Cruise New Zealand was an advocacy organisation which encouraged more cruise ships to come to New Zealand and it facilitated their operations while they were in the country.