Bratton was referring to a New Zealand bio-security filing that stipulates mandatory hull inspection and cleaning for all international vessels.
‘This is designed to reduce the possibility of foreign marine life being transported into New Zealand’s coastal waters and ecosystems,’ she said.
But there is a Catch-22.
‘There is nowhere within New Zealand’s territorial waters where you can undertake hull cleaning,’ she said.
‘I’ve recently become aware of ECOsubsea, a new technology being used in the northern hemisphere.
Safe hull cleaning
‘The European technology allows for safe hull cleaning whilst a ship is alongside the dock with all the marine organisms being removed without contamination of the local water. An added benefit is that the effective hull cleaning reduces a ship’s fuel burn and emissions by about 10%.
‘Wouldn’t it be great for New Zealand to be able to provide this service to the global shipping industry in the South Pacific?’
Bratton also said that, although Auckland is the only city in New Zealand currently suitable for large ship turnarounds, limited infrastructure could make Christchurch and Wellington secondary turnaround ports.
Fiordland Master Plan questioned
Bratton said the Fiordland Master Plan, which proposes a limit of two ships a day, is not a ‘smart’ regulation.
‘The fact that a third ship could be in a different Sound 150kms away is not taken into account,’ she said.
‘Under the regulation as it stands, no other vessel would be permitted in Fiordland if there were two vessels anywhere in the region, including in different Sounds — Milford, Dusky and Doubtful.
‘It means that even if that vessel was Le Commandant Charcot, with the most advanced technology in the industry, hybrid LNG, battery power and zero emissions, it would not be allowed access because a larger ship poked its nose into a fjord that morning.’
Bratton noted small expedition ships operate fleets of Zodiacs, used worldwide for their safety and practicality for close inshore operations.
‘The Master Plan only allows for a maximum of four Zodiacs to be launched for activity in Fiordland,’ she said. ‘Lapérouse, with 170 guests on board, carries 14.
‘We believe the regulation is designed to protect the local tourist boat operators in Milford Sound. But we have tried to procure local services for our small number of guests and the suppliers have not had available inventory.
‘Our Zodiacs do not take away business from local operators because we only carry our passengers from our ship to our ship.
‘This regulation also applies to other areas of Fiordland where there are no local boating facilities available, so it diminishes the expedition experience of the region and the reason why visitors come.’
Bratton said she hoped she was not going ‘overboard.’
‘I realise I am being a little contentious, but I am here, you are here and we all seek the most brilliant rebirth of cruising in this country,’ she said.