Hurtigruten cancels expedition cruises after 36 crew and 5 guests on MS Roald Amundsen test positive for Covid-19

Aug 03, 2020

The Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten Cruises, announced today the company is temporarily suspending all expedition voyages on 3 ships including MS Roald Amundsen, MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Spitsbergen. The decision comes after Coronavirus outbreak among crew and guests was reported on board MS Roald Amundsen on July 31.

In a press release Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said: “In light of the recent increase in new cases of Covid-19 globally, the only responsible choice is to suspend all expedition sailings until we are absolutely confident (that) we can carry out our operations in line with all requirements from the authorities and with the even stricter requirements we have set for ourselves, even more stringent requirements can be started again safely.” 

Norwegian press reported today that the number of people who tested positive for the virus on MS Roald Amundsen had risen to 41 infected, 36 crew members and 5 guests. Health officials announced that the number of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital, had risen from just 3 last week to 14, and one patient was on a respirator. Among the infected crew, 32 were from the Philippines while the rest were of Norwegian, French and German nationality, Hurtigruten said.

Hurtiguten is the first cruise operators who received special permission to restart limited voyages to the Norwegian coast, under strict Corona containment measures. The company said that “the safety and well-being” of both passengers and crew is Hurtigruten’s number one priority.”

Now the company will try to find out what went wrong, and the management is reviewing what exactly happened during the period leading up to confirmation of the first COVID-19 infection among the crew.

“A preliminary evaluation shows that there have been weaknesses in several of our internal procedures,” Hurtigruten CEO Skjeldam said in an interview for the Norwegian media on Monday. “This is a serious situation for everyone affected. We haven’t been good enough and we have made mistakes. On behalf of all of us working at Hurtigruten, I’m sorry for what has happened. We are taking full responsibility.”

The past few days Hurtiguten's main focus was taking care of the guests and crew and helping to track and limit the infection. The company is working closely with the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Tromso municipality and other health officials to handle the situation as best as possible.