Fort visit by MS Roald Amundsen cruise ship suspended due to coronavirus

The MS Roald Amundsen, which is scheduled to call at Fort William in September. NO-F29-MS-Roald-Amundsen-cruise-ship.jpg
The MS Roald Amundsen, which was scheduled to call at Fort William in September. NO-F29-MS-Roald-Amundsen-cruise-ship.jpg

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The scheduled visit by one of the world’s first battery powered cruise liners to Fort William next month has been suspended, after a number of the crew and passengers on its current voyage in the Arctic tested positive for coronavirus.

All 158 crew members on Hurtigruten’s expedition ship MS Roald Amundsen have now been tested for possible coronavirus infection.

Of the crew, 36 have tested positive for Covid-19, while 122 are confirmed as negative. Six guests have also tested positive. The ship is currently docked in Tromsø, in Norway, with no guests on board.

The cruise line company says it is now working closely with the Norwegian national and local health authorities for follow-up, information, further testing, and infection tracking.

A total of 209 guests from the first voyage and 178 guests from the July 24 departure will self-quarantine in line with Norwegian health authority regulations.

Hurtigruten today (Thursday) confirmed to the Lochaber Times that all expedition sailings – including the Fort William visit next month – have now been temporarily suspended as a result.

Hurtigruten has also temporarily suspended all expedition sailings aboard its MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Spitsbergen vessels until further notice.

Hurtigruten CEO, Daniel Skjeldam, said the safety and well-being of guests and crew is the company’s number one priority.

‘We are now focusing all available efforts in taking care of our guests and colleagues. We are working closely with the Norwegian National and Local Health Authorities for follow-up, information, further testing, and infection tracking,’ he added.

Contacted by the Lochaber Times, Sarah Kennedy, from the Fort William Marina and Shoreline Company, told us: ‘Regarding the ship – the port inspection scheduled for this week by their Expedition Voyage Planner Team Leader has been cancelled.

‘We are not expecting the Roald Amundsen to come to Fort William in September but we haven’t been advised officially of this.

‘Obviously this is a really hard time for all businesses but particularly the cruise industry which is trying really hard to find a way of coping with this disease just like they have very successfully with the norovirus.

‘This particular disease obviously provides even more challenges and other cruise ship companies have also had Covid-19 positive results.

‘Hopefully the extra procedures and controls implemented will enable the cruise industry to recover from this awful situation.’