6 Feb 2019

Further call to exclude cruise ships from New Caledonia reserve

7:04 pm on 6 February 2019

New Caledonia's biggest political party says the government should ban cruise ships from the marine reserve of the uninhabited Chesterfield islands.

Last year, the company Ponant applied to enter the archipelago once a year with a ship carrying 180 passengers.

Environmental groups object to opening the area, which is about 500 kilometres off the main island in the Coral Sea.

The Caledonia Together party, which is part of the collegial government, has now issued a statement, urging a ban be declared.

The government said last year an environmental study had to be carried out before any decision could be made.

Ponant, which runs luxury cruises, was fined in New Zealand in October for running a ship aground in a protected area of New Zealand in 2017.