Coronavirus: Why you don't need to worry about the cruise ships still allowed in New Zealand ports

"They need our support, not hate."
"They need our support, not hate." Photo credit: Getty Images

As confusion and fear increases over cruise ships in New Zealand waters during the COVID-19 pandemic, staff members and the ships themselves have become targets for verbal attacks and even vandalism.

Newshub Travel has been contacted by more than a dozen people outraged at the sight of cruise ships entering our ports - but the outrage is misguided.

Public anger at cruise ships took a nasty turn on Friday when members of a private boat allegedly hurled glass bottles at the cruise ship The Nordam, which was anchored in the Hauraki Gulf.

The private boat is then said to have moved on to another nearby visiting vessel, the Le Laperouse. Its crew were verbally abused for some time.

Misinformation about ships offloading hundreds of passengers onto our streets has spread via social media, word of mouth and was incorrectly claimed by a morning radio host while interviewing the Prime Minister last week.

Both the New Zealand Cruise Association and Ports of Auckland agree, there's no need to be worried about their presence, and there's definitely no excuse to abuse people and vandalise property.

The main thing people need to know about the cruise ships is this: there are no passengers onboard.

That has been confirmed in a statement to Newshub by Ports of Auckland.

"There are three cruise ships in port at the moment. None of them have passengers aboard, just skeleton crews. The Silver Muse and Bremen were in port last week to let passengers off so they could get home. The Le Laparouse let her passengers off in Wellington last week, again so they could get home," the Ports of Auckland spokesperson said.

"A fourth ship, the Noordam, is at anchor behind Rangitoto Island. It also has no passengers, just crew. It came into port last week to collect supplies. Before Auckland, it was in Tauranga with crew only." 

All of these ships and their crew have been in New Zealand for more than 14 days and have completed their self-isolation period and can come ashore.

Ports of Auckland said there's more risk of a crew member catching coronavirus from a local than the other way around.

The crew of Le Laparouse have decided to stay onboard for that very reason.

"Our plea to the people of Auckland is to show some humanity. The people on these ships are not a threat to your health," the spokesperson said.

"They are likely as scared as you are and they are miles away from their homes and families. They need our support, not hate."