Norway stops larger cruise ships disembarking after Covid-19 cases

Norway has temporarily banned all cruise ships with more than 100 people on board from disembarking.

The announcement was made on Monday August 3rd after an outbreak of Covid-19 was reported late last week on Hurtigruten cruise ship Roald Amundsen (IMO 9813072). By the time the cases were discovered among the vessel’s crew, the passengers had disembarked at the northern Norwegian port of Tromso.

At least 41 passengers and crew who were on board have tested positive for Covid-19. Hundreds more who had been on board during two seven-day cruises were told to self-isolate for 10 days.

Norwegian officials said that they were in touch with Germany, Denmark, Austria, Philippines and Latvia as passengers and crew on board came from these countries.

Norwegian Health Minister Bent Hoie said that ships that have already departed would be able to offload passengers and crew at Norwegian ports, but those yet to start journeys would not be able to do so, The new rules are effective for the next 14 days.

In mid-June Hurtigruten was the first cruise operator worldwide to return an oceangoing cruise ship to service. It operated a reduced passenger capacity, social distancing and strict rules on hygiene. However, CEO Daniel Skjeldamn told a news conference that the company would now be suspending all expedition cruises until further notice. “We have failed. I apologize strongly on behalf of the company”, he said, adding that “a preliminary evaluation shows a breakdown in several of our internal procedures”.

The Roald Amundsen had been scheduled to sail around the UK in September.

Four of the MS Roald Amundsen’s crew members were hospitalized on Friday when the ship arrived at Tromso and tested positive for Covid-19. Tests revealed that a further 32 of the 158 staff were also infected. The foreign crew, mainly from the Philippines, had been tested before leaving their home countries, but they did not quarantine before starting work on the ship, the company said.

So far, five of the 387 passengers travelling on the ship on two separate cruises since July 17th had tested positive, officials said.

Norwegian police said that they would be investigating whether any laws had been broken.

2019-built, Norway-flagged, 21,765 gt Roald Amundsen is owned by Explorer IIAS care of manager Hurtigruten Cruise AS of Tromso, Norway. It is entered with Gard P&I Club on behalf of Hurtigruten Cruise AS. It is entered with Norwegian Hull Club for H&M, with Gard AS having a subscription position.