Stinky fish halted Hurtigruten

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The captain of one of Norway’s classic Hurtigruten coastal vessels had to evacuate 70 passengers after they all woke up to a terrible stink on Tuesday. Water used to clean a cargo hold that had stored salted fish accidentally flooded into passenger cabins, making them anything but hospitable.

The MS Lofoten, built in 1964, is the oldest vessel in Hurtigruten's fleet and now needs some extensive repairs. PHOTO: Hurtigruten

The MS Lofoten, built in 1964, is the oldest vessel in Hurtigruten’s fleet and now needs some extensive repairs. PHOTO: Hurtigruten

“There were around 600 liters of the polluted water that got into the cabins, and there was a terrible stink of fish,” Captain Svein Erik Jacobsen of Hurtigruten’s veteran ship MS Lofoten told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

The vessel had delivered a load of salted fish when it stopped in Ålesund Monday night. It’s standard procedure for the cargo hold to be rinsed out after being emptied, but a damaged drain meant that the fishy water ended up seeping into the cabins.

By the time the vessel got to Florø, the captain had decided that the vessel’s passengers needed to be unloaded themselves. They were put on a fast ferry bound for the Lofoten’s final destination of Bergen.

The vessel then sailed back to Ålesund for inspection and repairs. “We have to find out if more water is lying under the mouldings, and whether cabin walls have to be torn out,” Jacobsen said. “We have to get rid of the stink, that’s the most important.”

He said passengers maintained their sense of humour over the stink, calling them “real enthusiasts” of the vessel that’s the oldest in Hurtigruten’s fleet, built in 1964. “But we’ll surely get some complaints from those who were staying in the cabins hit hardest, and we will offer compensation,” Jacobsen said.

He was eager to get the vessel back on schedule. “We’re supposed to sail back north again tomorrow, so we’ll close off the affected cabins and then continue with normal operations,” he said.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund