Huge seas have closed Sydney Harbour and may leave the 85,000 tonne cruise liner Carnival Spirit stranded off the coast for up to 48 hours until it’s safe to enter through the heads.
Earlier this morning, Harbour Master Captain Phil Holliday closed four ports to commercial shipping between Newcastle and Wollongong, not just because it was dangerous for pilots heading out, but also because the huge seas, with swells of up to 13 metres offshore and eight metres through Sydney Heads, could see even huge ships picked up by the waves and begin surfing, meaning the captain would lose control.
A passenger named Debbie called ABC 702 this morning saying conditions were “not pleasant” aboard the cruis ship, with some suffering from sea-sickness and the rough conditions throwing shop stock onto the floor.
“It’s been like this all night. I don’t think many people on the ship got much sleep,” she said.
The cruise ship carries up to 2100 passengers.
Carnival Cruises posted a statement on its Facebook page saying the ship, which was returning from Fiji, and due to depart Sydney tonight, was revising its schedule.
“We are continuing to monitor the weather closely and will update guests as new information comes available,”the company wrote, offering a 1-day refund and $50 onboard credit to the delayed guests. Guests also have the option to cancel for a full refund.
Gavin Baskerville, who’s aboard the Carnival Spirit, posted this video of the conditions as the Carnival Spirit waits off Sydney Heads.
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