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Deborah Marshall.jpg
Deborah Marshall said a Disaster Victim Identification process is under way

Ovation of the Seas departs Tauranga after volcano disaster

The 4,180-passenger Ovation of the Seas departed Tauranga on Wednesday after being delayed by the disastrous volcano eruption on White Island on Monday.

Revised itinerary

A Royal Caribbean spokeswoman said the ship will now call at Wellington and Picton, instead of Dunedin, before returning to Sydney as scheduled next Monday. 

‘A team remains 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, accommodation and transport,’ the spokeswoman said.

Thoughts and prayers

‘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. 

'We thank our guests on board for their patience and understanding during this tragic situation. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those impacted.’

Royal Caribbean has yet to make a statement about the passengers from Ovation of the Seas who were on a tour of White Island when the volcano erupted.

No hope for survivors

There is no hope of survivors on the island and police are holding off a body recovery operation due to the risk of further eruptions.

Chief coroner Judge Deborah Marshall said the Disaster Victim Identification process is under way.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Marshall said the meticulous DVI process begins at the scene with the unnamed deceased and ends — it is hoped — with the identification of that person and the return of the body to family members.

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