Cruise ship is forced to flee the path of a wild tropical cyclone and head home as the out-of-control storm barrels towards Queensland
- Storm system in the Coral Sea is building in intensity
- It is expected to be reach category two cyclone status
- Carnival ship Luminosa turned back for Brisbane
- Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast beaches could be closed
A ‘dangerous’ tropical storm building off the coast of Queensland has forced a cruise ship headed into the Pacific to turn back.
The Carnival cruise ship Luminosa, which was bound for New Caledonia, changed course on Wednesday morning and is now set to return to Brisbane.
The ship’s captain, Carmelo Marino, told passengers in a letter that he had no choice but to abandon the planned itinerary.
‘Regrettably, given the forecasted path of the storm, we will not be able to deliver our planned South Pacific itinerary,’ Mr Marino said.
The storm system, which was sitting 800km offshore from Cairns in the Coal Sea, is expected to develop into a category two cyclone by Friday.
A wild tropical cyclone is building off the coast of Queensland and is expected to slam into Norkfolk Island on Saturday
The Carnival cruise ship Luminosa, which was bound for New Caledonia, but instead turned back to Brisbane
Initial concerns are held for the 2200 residents on Norfolk Island, where the storm will hit on Saturday.
A category two storm typically brings destructive winds and could cause minor building damage.
Also expected are gusts of up to 164 kilometres per hour and sustained winds of up to 117 kilometres per hour.
The weather office said the cyclone is likely to be called Gabrielle.
Big winds and swells will be felt off the coast of Mackay, Townsville and the Capricornia region.
Once the category two cyclone has formed it is expected to run parallel to the east coast, heading in a south-easterly direction.
There is a chance it could develop further into a category three storm, the weather office said, though it was ‘too early to tell’.