Stowaway Bird Gets its Own Cruise Ship Cabin


By The Maritime Executive 02-03-2018 03:39:59

A stowaway galah, a type of Australian cockatoo, has enjoyed a luxury cruise around New Zealand after biosecurity officials allowed her to stay on the vessel.

The cruise ship alerted the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) about the stowaway as it approached Milford on 25 January. "The only way for the ship to enter New Zealand was to have the bird euthanized or secured and bonded to the vessel," said Andrew Spelman, MPI's border clearance services manager. The bird could have been carrying avian diseases with the potential to harm New Zealand's native bird population.

The galah, named Harri, was able to be captured and secured in an unoccupied cabin.

"We needed photographic evidence of its containment and the name of an officer responsible for looking after the bird. There was also a requirement for MPI officers to check on the bird and its containment facilities at every new port visit in New Zealand,” said Spelman.

Harri was found on board the Sea Princess by staff four days into a 14-day cruise. It's believed the pet bird left her family home in Brisbane, Australia, and landed on the ship when it was docked in Brisbane on January 21. The bird is capable of flying around 60 kilometers (40 miles) an hour, so she could have flown from home to the ship in about five minutes.

 An MPI quarantine officer was able to determine the galah had a microchip that matched the number of a missing bird from Brisbane. "We have word from Australian officials that it can be reunited with its owner in Brisbane when it returns home, as long as it passes an examination by a departmental vet," said Spelman.

Harri was indeed reunited with her owners in Brisbane on Sunday.