Cunard are deservedly proud of the fact that the arrival of one of their ships in a far-flung port generates huge excitement, drawing crowds of people to the shoreline and out onto the water.
They must sometimes wish that spectators weren’t quite so enthusiastic, particularly after an incident in New Zealand at the weekend.
Queen Elizabeth’s arrival in Wellington coincided with the port’s open day, and about 50 sightseers were crowded on the tug Toia when it came rather too close to the cruise ship.
The tug’s funnel hit the ship’s port-side docking platform, about 36 feet (12 metres) above the waterline.
The Dominion Post reported that passengers screamed as they were showered with debris from the funnel and one man suffered a cut cheek from a piece of falling metal.
Cruise New Zealand chairman Craig Harris, agent for the Queen Elizabeth, said “This was unusual because the ship was sitting alongside
A Cunard spokesman confirmed the incident: “While Queen Elizabeth was alongside in Wellington, New Zealand, on Saturday, a tug made contact with the ship. No injuries were reported and the incident is being investigated by the relevant maritime authorities. Queen Elizabeth left Wellington as scheduled.”
Maritime NZ is investigating.
MY PICTURE, taken during Queen Elizabeth’s naming ceremony in 2010, shows the ship’s starboard docking platform