A volcano in New Zealand erupted on Monday, coinciding with a nearby visit by Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas.
Ovation of the Seas was in the port of Tauranga, a coastal city about 90 km (56 miles) from White Island. White Island (or Whakaari) is one of New Zealand’s most iconic, active, volcanoes that you can visit by boat.
Authorities report around 50 people were on White Island when the eruption took place, and CNN reports more than 30 passengers were there from Ovation of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean's Australia website posted an update at 7:30pm AEDT:
During Ovation of the Seas call to Tauranga today, a shore tour was visiting White Island at the time of the volcanic eruption earlier this afternoon. We do not have any additional details to share at this time. Ovation of the Seas will remain in Tauranga overnight until we learn more about the situation. We will offer all possible assistance to our guests and local authorities. Please keep all those affected in your prayers.
AU Crisis Hotline: 1300 026 240
NZ Crisis Hotline: 0800 002 141
Royal Caribbean issued a statement about the incident:
We can confirm that a number of our guests were touring the island today. We do not have any additional details to share at this time.
Ovation of the Seas will remain overnight until we learn more about the situation. We will offer all possible assistance to our guests and local authorities.
Please keep all those affected in your prayers.
We are devastated by today’s events and our hearts go out to all those affected by this tragedy.
We are working together with local authorities, and we are providing all the help and care we can to our guests and their families, including offering medical resources and counseling. We are also sending staff members from both our ship and our Sydney and Auckland offices to assist family members however possible.
Ovation of the Seas will remain in port as long as needed to assist with the situation.
Family members concerned about the status of relatives traveling aboard Ovation of the Seas may inquire by calling the following numbers:
Australia – 1-300-026-240
New Zealand – 0800-002141
USA - 800 829 4050
Noon update: Royal Caribbean has issued a new statement on the developing situation in New Zealand.
The news from White Island is devastating. The details that are emerging are heartbreaking.
We are working to help our guests and the authorities in the aftermath of this tragedy in any way we can.
We are communicating with our guests and their families. We’re making sure they are taken care of in terms of medical help, counseling, accommodations, and transport. Our hearts go out to them, and we want to be as supportive as we can.
Staff from our Sydney and Auckland offices office are already onsite, and we’re going to be offering all our resources while this terrible tragedy sorts out.
We are grateful for the work of all the first responders and medical personnel. We also thank the prime minister and her team, the local authorities and everyone who has reached out to help with their kind thoughts and prayers.