BEAR ON BOARD: Crew of Russian cargo ship forced to take refuge on roof as polar bear climbs on deck in search of food


A polar bear in search of food climbed aboard a Russian cargo ship while it was in Svalbard waters, forcing the crew to take refuge at length on the roof until the predator, failing to find the fish aboard, gave up and swam away, according to the Murmansk Sea Fish Port.

“We were thrown off by video recordings by an uninvited guest on the deck of the Murmansk vessel Arctic Spirit,” the port wrote in a post on its official Facebook page this week that included two videos. “In the Spitsbergen area, the polar bear deftly climbed onto the deck of the transport vessel and paralyzed the workers! It was looking for food. The sailors prudently climbed higher.”

The polar bear managed climb aboard the 120-meter-long vessel using plastic buoys chained to the side of the boat while it was mooring. There was fish stored on board – in fact, very close to an area the bear explored –but it remained untouched.

“Not finding the fish, the bear swam away,” the Facebook post noted.

While the post didn’t specify the length of the incident, the UK-based Daily Star tabloid reported the crew was on the roof for several hours.

Spring is peak hunting season for polar bears, although many have been forced to seek alternative food sources in recent years due to lack of the sea ice they hunt seals from. However, temperatures in the “normal” cold range much of the winter resulted in the largest amount of ice cover this spring since 2013, although it was still the 11th lowest during the past 42 years records have been kept, according to Norway’s National Snow & Ice Data Centre.