Cruise ship industry disappointed about COVID-19 ban extension

Cruise ships may turn to other countries.
Cruise ships may turn to other countries. Photo credit: Getty

The Government's new changes to COVID-19 rules for vessels entering New Zealand has left the cruise industry disappointed.

The current ban on ships has been extended past June 30, following a rise in new cases from international travellers.

All crew must also now complete a 14 day managed isolation unless they have been on the boat for 28 days.

Cruise Association Chief Executive Kevin O'Sullivan believes it is a step backwards.

"I was hopeful after having discussions with many Government agencies that we may see a lifting of the suspension at the end of June in order to allow ships back in."

O'Sullivan says it is already a very uncertain time for the sector after months with no business during the pandemic.

He says they just want some clarity on when they may be able to set sail again.

"Because it is now an unknown around when the suspension will be lifted, it is very hard for the cruise lines to make any plans on when they can come back."

The Cruise Association is also calling on the Government to treat ships without passengers the same way as commercial vessels. O'Sullivan says it can be done.

"Let's look at the crew on board as being in isolation or some form of quarantine the same way that every other member is on other shipping."

He says if they don't, ships that were looking at coming to New Zealand will likely divert to other countries, taking their money with them.