10 Feb 2017

TAIC launches second inquiry into French cruise ship

5:40 pm on 10 February 2017

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has launched its second investigation this year into a luxury French cruise ship, after it hit rocks in the Milford Sound yesterday.

The L'Austral moored in Bordeaux in April 2016.

L'Austral moored at a wharf in Bordeaux in April 2016. Photo: AFP

The commission's chief investigator, Tim Burfoot, said the L'Austral, which is about 160 metres long, only had minor damage to its hull.

But Mr Burfoot said it was already investigating another event involving the ship.

He said the L'Austral had hit rocks while transferring passengers on Snares Island in January and had needed to call into Bluff for repairs.

"The second event in itself is of concern enough to launch and enquiry.... The fact that it is the second of these events in such a short space of time has given more of a sense of urgency for us to find out what's actually happening."

Mr Burfoot said three investigators would go onboard the L'Austral and starting making enquiries when it made a scheduled call into Dunedin tomorrow.

"They'll be going through the interview process and checking all of the navigation systems," he said.