Passengers evacuated after Milford Wanderer cruise ship hits rocks near Stewart Island

The Milford Wanderer was built in 1992. (FILE PHOTO)
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The Milford Wanderer was built in 1992. (FILE PHOTO)

About 30 passengers were evacuated from a cruise ship in Port Pegasus, Stewart Island, after it became stuck on rocks.

Tourism operator Real Journeys' ship, Milford Wanderer, hit the rocks at low tide, about 9am on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the company said 30 passengers, three Department of Conservation (DOC) staff and six crew were on board.

No-one was hurt and passengers boarded other craft to continue on a scheduled three-hour walk while the ship's skipper and crew checked the ship for damage.

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"An initial inspection showed no obvious signs of damage and the incoming tide released the vessel," the spokeswoman said.

"Real Journeys flew its engineering manager and divers by helicopter to fully inspect and assess the situation. This confirmed that the damage was confined to the paint work under the boat."

Maritime New Zealand spokeswoman Pania Shingleton confirmed the authority had been notified and kept up to date while Real Journeys resolved the situation.

"There were no injuries and no oil was spilt. They activated their own safety plan and kept us informed," Shingleton said.

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"As I understand it, in Stewart Island at the moment, there are quite big king tides, which are making things just a little tricky."

The Wanderer, which sleeps 36 passengers, was entering a cove to drop passengers off for the walk to Bald Cone when the incident happened.

Passengers were picked up by the Foveaux Express after their walk and transported back to Oban, in Stewart Island, where they would spend the night.

The Wanderer was being taken to Paterson's Inlet on Thursday night for an independent surveyor to inspect the ship.

Provided they were satisfied the ship was safe, passengers would return to the boat on Friday morning.

The trip was day two of a six-day conservation expedition run in conjunction with DOC. The Wanderer was built in 1992 for multi-day trips in the remote southern waters around Fiordland and Stewart Island.

An alternative ship had been put on stand-by so the conservation expedition could continue, regardless of the Wanderer's outcome.

 - Stuff

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