A Fiordland cruise ship that ran aground last week has been cleared to return to service.

Passengers will head out on the Fiordland Navigator this afternoon for the first time in nearly a week after the ship ran aground near Crooked Arm on Wednesday night. There were 57 guests and 10 crew on board, with one minor injury initially reported.

“Over the last few days, our team have worked alongside contractors to repair the Fiordland Navigator at Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound.

“Final repairs were made yesterday, and the vessel surveyor cleared the Navigator to return to service,” RealNZ spokesperson Paul Norris said in a statement today.

“All regulatory authorities have been supportive of our approach to bring the Navigator back to service, and kept up to date with progress.

“We are excited to welcome back our first guests on the Fiordland Navigator’s overnight experience in Doubtful Sound this afternoon.”

Norris addressed the Transport Accident Investigation Commission’s marine safety inquiry into the incident.

The TAIC statement said investigations would focus on the vessel’s history, performance, maintenance, equipment and design.

“Alongside external investigations into last Wednesday’s incident, RealNZ is also conducting an internal investigation, and we are supporting the staff involved through this process,” Norris said.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to our staff, contractors, and support from technical authorities who have helped us get to this point. We’re looking forward to seeing the Navigator get back to doing what she does best!”

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