Published on Friday, August 7, 2020

Hurtigruten COO temporarily steps down as Covid numbers rise

Hurtigruten has suspended one of its top executives amid criticism it badly mishandled the outbreak of coronavirus onboard its cruise ship Roald Amundsen.

The cruise line's Chief Operations Officer Bent Martini stepped down as Hurtigruten confirmed the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 is now 41 crew members and 21 passengers.

The company has been criticised for not informing passengers before they disembarked in Tromso, Norway, on 1 August, after four crew were taken ill and tests positive.

The company has now cancelled all expedition sailings, including a series of planned cruises around the UK, until further notice.

Martini and his family had been on the week-long cruise from Tromso to Svalbard, although it is not known whether he was involved in the decision to send passengers ashore without notifying them of the outbreak.

Two more crew members were admitted to hospital this week with coronavirus and two others have been discharged. All 158 crew members remain quarantined on the ship, which is still in port in Tromso.

Hurtigruten has been widely criticised as irresponsible for the way it has handled the situation, with Norway's Prime Minister and Health Minister both expressing their anger and Norwegian publication Aftenposten calling its actions 'unforgiveable'.


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