Galah’s crazy international cruise ship journey

A STOWAWAY galah is enjoying a luxury cruise around New Zealand after the pet's apparent attempt to join its owners on a family holiday went wrong.

Harri's Brisbane owners noticed the cheeky bird had gone missing from her cage a few days before the family was due to go on holiday.

Michelle and Brett Cozzi, along with their four-year-old daughter Georgia, were preparing to go on a cruise last month when they noticed their feathered family pet had escaped.

But the bird hadn't just gone missing.

Perhaps inspired by the family's travel plans, she'd taken herself to the Portside Wharf Cruise Ship Terminal for an adventure of her own, and snuck onto the next ship that was leaving, Pacific Aria, setting off for New Zealand.

A few days later, thinking they may never see Harri again, the Cozzis boarded the cruise ship they had booked - the Sea Princess - and began their journey around Queensland.

Harri the galah in her cabin on board the Sea Princess. Picture: New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries
Harri the galah in her cabin on board the Sea Princess. Picture: New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries

It wasn't until after their trip had started that they were tracked down by the cruise company's staff and informed their pet was also a cruise ship.

Staff on-board the Pacific Aria found the stowaway on board the vessel as it approached Milford last week and alerted New Zealand authorities.

Managing to capture the bird and contain her to her own cabin, staff were allowed to keep Harri on board so long as they adhered to strict biosecurity guidelines.

The Ministry for Primary Industries border clearance manager Andrew Spelman said the only way for the ship to enter New Zealand with the bird on board was to have Harri euthanised or "secured and bonded to the vessel".

Thankfully, staff were able to keep Harri in an unoccupied cabin and regularly check on her and provide updates of her condition to the relevant authorities.

"The vessel operators have been very particular in following our directive, so we're satisfied any biosecurity risk has been mitigated."

The bird remains on board the P & O Sea Princess. Picture Mark Cranitch.
The bird remains on board the P & O Sea Princess. Picture Mark Cranitch.

Once an MPI quarantine officer was able to examine the bird, it was determined that the bird was microchipped and her identity number matched Harri's.

The family, due to return from their cruise on Friday, have been receiving regular updates on Harri and are expected to be reunited with her on Sunday when the Sea Princess returns to Brisbane.

Carnival Australia spokesman David Jones said Harri's and the Cozzi family's story was "truly unique".

"It's a classic feel-good story with everyone in the two cruise lines and government authorities doing everything they can to achieve a great family reunion," he said.

"Needless to say, the lines are running hot between Sea Princess and Pacific Aria to give the family regular updates on Harri's progress."

Carnival, which owns both cruise ships, said Harri had been well looked after during the cruise, but said the family were "the heroes".

"Harri was microchipped and his family easily contacted as a result."



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