8 Feb 2019

Cruise to New Caledonia marine reserve still on sale

12:39 pm on 8 February 2019

A cruise in April to a marine reserve in New Caledonia remains on sale although the government is still to decide whether to allow access to the area.

The path of the Ponant cruise


Last year, the French company Ponant applied to enter the Chesterfield islands area once a year with a ship carrying 180 passengers.

However, a petition in New Caledonia asking for the archipelago to stay untouched has gathered more than 15,000 signatures.

The territory's largest political party, Caledonia Together, has this week also backed the call for a cruise ban.

Starting in Auckland, the cruise is set to call at the Chesterfield islands, which the company describes as an archipelago lost in the Coral Sea teeming with sea birds and sea turtles.

Last year, the government, whose president is a Caledonia Together member, said 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.

A French news site said the tickets for the 14-day New Caledonia cruise have been sold.

However, the Ponant website suggests there is continued availability.

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