The repercussions are continuing to be felt across Norway after the COVID-19 incidents involving Hurtigruten’s management and cruise ships. Norwegian government officials and the media are expressing a sense of both betrayal and disappointment at how the situation was handled.
In the latest developments, Hurtigruten reported that it has asked its Chairman of the Board and Chief Operating Officer Bent Martini to step down while the investigation is ongoing into how the company handled the outbreak of COVID-19 linked to a passenger who has disembarked its cruise ship the Roald Amundsen. Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement that the company had initiated the actions as it continued its review and external investigation of the situation.
The incident began on July 29 when it was discovered that a passenger who had disembarked from the cruise ship after a 7-day cruise to the Arctic had tested positive for the virus. Four crew members also aboard the ship reported feeling unwell at around the same time and were moved into isolation. Health officials informed Hurtigruten of the situation but the company failed to notify the passengers and crew on the ship and implement precautions. The company continued to delay the notification, and according to some reports attempted to hide the situation possibly going back on a promise to the Norwegian officials. Further, the passengers aboard the current cruise were permitted to disembark on July 31 before the announcement of the outbreak setting off an effort across Norway to do contact tracing and locate nearly 400 passengers from the two cruises.