MELBOURNE, VIC — A Texas man is looking for answers on behalf of hundreds of cruise passengers that are stranded on a ship near Australia. The main two people he's fighting for are his 80-year-old mother, Barbara, and her 81-year-old husband, David.
According to The Guardian, the Viking Orion ship hasn't docked in a port since Monday, Dec. 26. In a statement to WFAA, a Viking spokesperson said the ship was anchored near Victor Harbor as of Jan. 1.
Jim Fleming reached out to WFAA saying he's been in contact with his parents on the ship. They're originally from Howe, Texas, close to an hour north of Dallas. He said his parents are doing as well as they can be in this situation. They were told the ship has enough food and fuel.
Fleming's parents also said they haven't been allowed to dock because the ship has a bacteria known as "pink algae." Divers have been removing it from the ship; Fleming said his mother told him about chunks of it rising in the water.
Fleming told WFAA that the pink algae was found on the ship when it was near Auckland, New Zealand, and no port has allowed the ship to dock since then. He's tried reaching out to Viking but hadn't heard back from them.
The company sent the following statement to WFAA:
“The Viking Orion is currently anchored off Victor Harbor, Australia where a limited amount of standard marine growth is being cleaned from the ship’s hull—a standard cleaning procedure for nautical vessels. While the ship needed to miss several stops on this itinerary in order for the required cleaning to be conducted, she is expected sail for Melbourne as planned on January 1, and we are expecting the scheduled itinerary to resume completely by January 2. Viking is working directly with guests on compensation for the impact to their voyage."
Fleming questions the statement after talking to his mother again Sunday afternoon. He confirms that the ship is heading to Melbourne, but he was told that passengers won't be allowed to disembark from the ship.
"The cleaning process may be standard but not during the actual transport with passengers on the actual planned itinerary," said Fleming. "The cleaning would take place before the passengers are on board."
Fleming said he's now looking for all passengers to be compensated for their trouble. As of Sunday, passengers are set to get half of their payments reimbursed.