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Greenpeace New Zealand communications officer Dean Baigent-Mercer said the organisation was ''gutted'' it would not be visiting Dunedin early next week as planned.
Greenpeace had just found out yesterday afternoon the ship was too tall to make it under cables over Otago Harbour, he said.
''The Rainbow Warrior is really tall; she is nearly 58m long and 53m high - that's nearly 17 storeys high.''
The ship also needed ''routine'' maintenance, which meant it was unlikely it would be able to make its planned visit to Oban, Stewart Island. Greenpeace would do its best to reschedule its planned stop in Bluff, he said.
The Greenpeace ship, the third to carry the Rainbow Warrior name, is on its first trip to New Zealand.
Greenpeace had planned to offer free public tours of the ship while it was in Dunedin.