Cruise boat evacuation a “fairly relaxed affair”

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It wasn’t plain sailing for a cruise boat on Milford Sound last month.

The 29-metre vessel, operated by Jucy Cruise, suffered propeller failure, took on water and passengers had to abandon ship.

Jucy boss Tim Alpe, who was on Gem of the Sound at the time, downplays the incident and says it was a “fairly relaxed affair”.

They were five minutes from the home berth and had to call in help from a competitor.

“It’s a gentleman’s agreement in Milford that we help each other out when issues happen.

“So we were grateful for a spot of assistance from another operator at the time.”

Alpe says the overly-cautious response was down to putting passenger safety first. He also shouted them a beer for their troubles.

There were 25 passengers on board at the time.

Launched in April, the boat was promoted as boasting fine dining, two glass roofs and looking like a luxury yacht.

Maritime New Zealand’s media man Mark Dittmer says the incident wasn’t too serious.

“No one was at risk and the passengers were transferred.

“Maritime NZ undertook a thorough review of the incident, including speaking with the company and key players involved to establish the facts of the situation.

“As we are satisfied the company has taken safety precautions to prevent an incident like this happening again, we aren’t taking our inquiries further.”

Jucy also operates a budget cruise in Milford on Gem of the Sound’s sister ship Maiden of Milford.

louises@scene.co.nz