Ammonia leak in Picton stops cruise passengers boarding ship
Passengers were barred from a cruise ship docked in Marlborough on Thursday after poisonous gas seeped through a refrigeration seal in a nearby building.
Port Marlborough staff smelled the ammonia leak from a Talley's Group Ltd refrigeration unit on Picton's Waitohi Wharf shortly after 2pm.
The wharf and luxury cruise liner the Seabourn Encore were both closed to the public for about an hour, and all the windows and doors on the ship were shut.
Exposure to ammonia gas can cause burning in the nose, throat and respiratory tract, and can result in respiratory failure.
Picton volunteer fire brigade chief fire officer Wayne Wytenburg said a fire crew and St John ambulance staff attended the incident.
However, the leak was minor and no-one was hurt.
Port Marlborough business delivery manager Rhys Welbourn said the leak was fixed by a refrigeration engineer in about 20 minutes, although the wharf was closed for longer as a precaution.
There had been a "great response" from the fire brigade, he said.
The leak caused some temporary inconvenience for cruise ship passengers, but it was important to ensure their safety.
The Seabourn Encore holds 604 passengers.
Talley's employees did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday afternoon.
- The Marlborough Express