Police put the Armed Offenders Squad on alert after the captain of an interisland ferry raised concerns about the behaviour of a passenger on Sunday.
The captain of the Kaitaki contacted police in Picton at 9.50am because he was concerned about a suspicious article a passenger was carrying.
Senior Sergeant Peter Payne says there was a misunderstanding between two passengers about religious belief. Officers spoke to the men who have now been released.
Senior Sergeant Payne says there was no truth to reports that there was a hostage-taking.
He says the Armed Offenders Squad attended the scene as a precaution.