A powerful rain and wind storm in New Zealand caused problems at the Ports of Auckland on January 27, when a mooring line on Holland America Line’s Noordam gave way. The incident caused the port’s ferry system to shut down temporarily.
Noordam Incident Disrupts Ferry Services
Holland America Line’s Noordam, cruising between Sydney and Auckland this season, arrived at its Princes Wharf berth in Auckland in the midst of a major storm, with rain and winds up to 25 mph and significant wind gusts.
At about 11:15 AM, one of its mooring lines snapped and the 82,500-gross-ton ship restarted its engines in order to remain at its berth. But the propulsion created a wash in the port’s ferry basin, causing disruption to ferry services.
The Ports of Auckland tweeted: “It’s a wild weather day in Tāmaki Makaurau. For safety reasons the Noordam cruise ship had to start propulsion at 11am today. We alerted AT and the ferrying companies immediately but it did impact ferry services. This is now resolved.”
According to reports, Auckland ferry services were suspended for about an hour while the mooring line was reattached.
Flooding from the storm is so widespread that Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown declared a state of emergency that will extend for the next seven days. The storm also affected Auckland Airport, where some 2,000 had been stranded overnight and flights were cancelled until at least noon on January 27. Motorists also were stranded around the city.
New Zealand’s MetService issued a red alert for heavy rains, thunderstorms and high winds expected to continue into January 28.
Noordam, with a capacity of 1,916 guests, had returned to Auckland following a 14-day voyage from Sydney. The ship is sailing a series of 12- to 16-day cruises between Sydney and Auckland through late March.
It is scheduled to depart today, January 27, on a sailing to Sydney. Scheduled port calls are Gisborne, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Picton, Timaru, Dunedin, Fjordland National Park, all in New Zealand, Melbourne, Australia, and Burnie, Tasmania.
According to New Zealand Cruise Association, several cruise ships are in the area this weekend. Silversea Cruises’ Silver Muse is scheduled to call at Auckland on January 28, while Seabourn Cruise Line’s Seabourn Odyssey and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Ovation of the Seas are due to call at Dunedin, and Azamara Cruises’ Azamara Quest is slated to visit Christchurch.
Second Bout of Bad Weather for Noordam
It was the second time this month that the ship was affected by severe weather. Cyclone Hale caused Noordam to miss several port calls on its January 2 cruise, which departed from Sydney and was headed to New Zealand. Swells up to 18 feet and heavy rain forced the ship to extend its call in Wellington, while calls to Picton and Napier were canceled.
A second Holland America Line ship, Westerdam, also is operating in Australia this season, cruising roundtrip from Sydney.