Hurtigruten has shared the findings of a report into the cause of a recent outbreak of COVID-19 on one of its ships.
The Norwegian Maritime Directorate launched the investigation after at least 36 crew members and passengers on board MS Roland Amundsen tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of July and found “failures in several important areas”.
The cruise line has released a statement responding to the claims and said it is already in the process of improving its safety policy and will correct all mistakes within the three-month deadline given by the authority.
“What the Norwegian maritime directorate points out is serious and shows that we must improve,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.
“This is the first important step on the road to getting all the answers on the table and getting all aspects of our operation improved.
“We are now awaiting the external investigation, which will give us even more answers and a broader basis for the work we have ahead of us.”
The investigation included a review of the cruise line’s safety management systems and how it handled the outbreak.
The directorate’s summary pointed out three mistakes including failure to complete proper risk assessment, employees failing to report cases early and failure to enact the emergency procedure immediately.
However, the directorate also acknowledged that Hurtigruten has “worked well to update its procedures and contingency plans in relation to outbreaks of infection on board”.
Acting general manager of Hurtigruten, Asta Lassesen, said the line has deployed “all available resources to strengthen and improve routines and procedures at all levels”.
“Employees have made a formidable effort within the company,” she said.
“It is good that the Norwegian maritime directorate writes in the report that Hurtigruten has worked well after the incident.
“The deviations that are pointed out by the directorate are important to us in the work of a sound restart of the expedition cruise business when the COVID-19 situation allows it. That work is well underway.”
Lassesen said it is worrying that the directorate has questioned the company’s safety culture.
“Shortly after the COVID-19 outbreak on MS Roald Amundsen, we stepped up our efforts to ensure routines and better follow-up of these,” she said.
“Our employees and guests can be confident that safety is the most important thing for us at Hurtigruten.”
Image source: UAVPIC.COM/Tor Erik Kvalsvik/Kleven/Hurtigruten