Four crew members aboard Hurtiguten’s Roald Amundsen are hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus, and all crew are now being tested and passengers notified while the vessel remains docked in Tromsø following a cruise to Svalbard, officials announced Friday afternoon.
The ship was carrying permanent Svalbard residents aboard, but it did not actually dock at any ports in Longyearbyen – instead touring parts of the archipelago exclusively by water, according to Svalbardposten.
The outbreak, according to a press release from Hurtigruten (which states two crew members were detected with the virus, with officials confirming later two more are infected as of Friday evening), was detected before the ship docked at 6 a.m. Friday after the second of two week-long “expedition cruises” to Svalbard that departed Tromsø on July 17 and July 24.
The crew members, none of them Norwegian, “were isolated several days ago due to what was believed to be another illness, without symptoms of COVID-19,” the release states. “When the ship arrived in Tromsø before docking Friday, however, both were routinely tested. The two crew members are now hospitalized at the University Hospital in Northern Norway.”
All the 160 crew members working on board during both cruises since July 17 are being kept on board and will be tested, and the roughly 250 passengers on each who have disembarked will be contacted.
“Hurtigruten encourages all guests to follow the authorities’ advice, and contact their local health service if they experience symptoms,” the release states.
Passengers that disembarked in Tromsø told Norwegian media they first were informed about the outbreak when reading online newspapers, according to The Independent Barents Observer.
A third cruise aboard the ship scheduled to depart for Svalbard on Friday was cancelled. The next voyage aboard the ship is not scheduled until the beginning of September.