New Zealand’s entire banana supply will be held up for a fortnight after the ship carrying the fruit broke down around 700 miles east of Auckland.
The Bothnian Reefer was due to reach Auckland four days ago, but a broken turbo charger has held up the delivery of the shipment and retailers have been asked to ensure that they control sales carefully to avoid empty shelves.
New Zealanders are among the world’s biggest consumers of bananas, eating between 120,000 and 130,000 boxes every fortnight and creating sales for the industry worth around NZ$130m (US$52.8m) a year.
Almost all of the fruit comes is imported from Ecuador. A regular convoy of four ships, controlled by the LauritzenCool company, usually takes 17 days to ship refrigerated green bananas to New Zealand where they are put in cool stores and ripened with ethylene gas.
A spokesman from LauritzenCool stressed that the quality of the bananas aboard the Bothnian Reefer is unlikely to deteriorate during the delay, and supermarkets have added that there is unlikely to be a price increase.
Fruit lovers can expect a banana feast on the 23 July, however, when two loaded ships are now due to arrive at once.