The Mayor of the City of Port Phillip, Cr Bernadene Voss, led the local community in welcoming Norwegian Star passengers after the ship was towed back to Station Pier in Port Melbourne.
Norwegian Star left Station Pier on Thursday 9 February 2017, en route for New Zealand, but experienced problems with its propulsion system in the early hours of Friday 10 February. At the time, it was around 70 nautical miles south east of the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. The ship had to be towed back to Melbourne for repair and arrived around midnight on Saturday 11 February.
The next morning, Cr Voss and volunteers from both the City of Port Phillip and the City of Melbourne greeted disembarking passengers, giving them a warm welcome and an invitation to enjoy some more time in Melbourne while waiting for their ship to get underway again. As part of the welcome, every passenger was offered a local delicacy - a free lamington, supplied by Melbourne Bakehouse from Port Melbourne.
Passengers were mostly upbeat about the experience when interviewed by local media. Some were waiting to see how long the repairs would take before making a decision on whether to continue the cruise, others were off to do some more sightseeing in Melbourne.
When Norwegian Star lost propulsion the Master notified the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra and they assumed the lead role of coordinating authority.
A number of other organisations and skilled personnel were involved in the towing operation, ensuring it ran smoothly and successfully. They included:
- Norwegian Star’s Master and crew
- Victorian Ports’ Harbour Master and Vessel Traffic Service operators
- Maritime Safety Victoria
- Port Phillip Sea Pilots
Two tugs towed the ship to the entrance of Port Phillip Bay where two sea pilots boarded to work with the Master for the passage through the Heads and up the bay. A third tug arrived for this part of the journey and they set the ship alongside at Station Pier.
Norwegian Star at Outer East berth Station Pier, and Golden Princess at Outer West berth.