Why Was a Cruise Ship Sailing in An Active Volcano Zone?

Days after 5 people were killed, and dozens more injured, during a volcano eruption on New Zealand’s White Island, many are asking why there were tourists at the site at all, especially tourists on an excursion from a cruise ship. 

Numerous news outlets are reporting that scientists had been warning for weeks that the volcano was becoming dangerously active. Nevertheless, the Ovation of the Seas sailed into the danger zone and even allowed passengers to visit the island.

One key question posed by USA Today is whether the cruise line may be liable. USA Today’s coverage focused on whether the cruise line sponsored the excursion to White Island, implying that if it did then it may be liable for passengers’ injuries. But the fact that the company sailed into the vicinity of an active volcano and didn’t warn passengers shows a breach of duty. 

The same USA Today article says that authorities had raised the volcano’s alert level in November after noticing “increasing sulfur dioxide gas” and volcanic tremor, leading them to determine that eruption was increasingly likely.