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Massive earthquake hits New Zealand, ports reportedly damaged

Massive earthquake hits New Zealand, ports reportedly damaged
A 7.5 magnitude earthquake has hit North Canterbury on the South Island of New Zealand, at midnight local time on November 14, triggering a tsunami alert that caused many coastal residents to drive to higher ground.

Severe aftershocks continue, towns have been cut off and thousands of people are stranded.

There has been extensive damage in Wellington, the nation’s capital city and a major cruise ship destination.

Radiance of the Seas opened the 2016/17 international cruise ship season at Centrepoint Wellington on October 5 and since then Sun Princess, Sea Princess and Noordam have been there. Pacific Aria is due to arrive on November 21.

The port of Picton has been reportedly damaged, with Emerald Princess due on November 21, to be followed by Maasdam on November 27.

According to Inchcape Shipping Services, an advisory note released by Wellington authorities states that both the port and wharf gates will remain closed for the next seven days.  No ship or cargo operations will be permitted. As and when certain sections are cleared by engineers selective operations may be allowed to recommence during this period.

Wellington has gantry crane issues, wharf subsidence and log pile collapses according to ISS. It says the forestry and cruise berth at Shakespeare Bay has reported damage and subsidence. Engineering assessments are currently being undertaken.

Lyttelton/Christchurch port reopened at 1400 today and reports no structural damage. Railway and road access to the port has been declared safe and operative.