Norway reacts to Hurtigruten COVID-19 outbreak with cruise ship ban

Written by Nick Blenkey
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File photo shows Roald Amundsen on sea trials [Image' Kleven Verft]

As investigations into the COVID-19 outbreak aboard its cruise ship Roald Amundsen continued, Hurtigruten today announced that it has ​temporarily suspended all sailings on MS Roald Amundsen, MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Spitsbergen until further notice. It said that the decision did not affect its coastal Norway operations.

Meantime, the Norwegian government has responded by banning ships carrying more than a total of 100 people from calling at Norwegian ports.

“We must take the measures necessary to stop the spread of infection in Norway,” says Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie. “We do this while we investigate what failed during the outbreak on the Hurtigruten [ship] and what should be done to prevent something similar from happening again. We will also consider whether the regulations should be changed.”

He says that the Roald Amundsen outbreak shows that the corona pandemic is not over, and is the reason why the authorities are having to tighten restrictions again. The rule tightening applies until further notice, and the government will make a new assessment in at least 14 days.

“This is a temporary tightening, while we see if there is a need to change the regulations, and if the shipping companies and ships comply with the regulations that apply today,” says Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø.


“We will continue to facilitate crew changes,” said Nybø, noting that crews joining ships were exempt from entry quarantine in connection but must have completed the necessary quarantine in their home countries before arriving in Norway.

The new restrictions announced today apply only to cruise traffic, not ferries on routes between Norway and the European continent and along the Norwegian coast.

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