Ovation Of The Seas left The Port of Tauranga early this morning, repeatedly sounding its foghorn as a sign of respect for the passengers who were victims in the White Island Volcano eruption on Monday.
Many locals came down to farewell the ship and passengers could be seen out on the deck, waving back to them.
38 of the 47 people on White Island during the eruption on Monday afternoon were passengers on the Royal Carribean cruise.
The ship was originally sailing off to Wellington on Monday evening but stayed at the Port of Tauranga to learn more about the fate of their missing passengers.
Royal Caribbean has released a statement, explaining that Ovation of the Seas would now only travel as far south as Picton before returning to Sydney.
It will not visit Dunedin or Fiordland as initially planned.
“A team will remain onsite in Tauranga and all hospital locations to ensure those affected by Monday’s incident are taken care of in terms of medical help, counselling, accommodations, and transport.”
“Our priority continues to be to ensure that all guests and crew impacted are well taken care of and we assist the local authorities in any way we can,” they said.
We thank our guests onboard for their patience and understanding during this tragic situation. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with those impacted.”
At present, we know that six people have lost their lives while 30 victims of the eruption remain in hospital, many in a critical condition.
The rest of the victims are still missing on the island. Police and defence force personnel have taken a number of aerial reconnaissance flights over the island since the eruption. However, no signs of life have been detected.
Australian patients will reportedly be transferred back home once they are in a stable condition to free up resources.
Share this story