New storm halted Hurtigruten

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Yet another severe storm, this time with hurricane-force winds, swept over Northern Norway on Tuesday. The weather was so bad, and the seas so rough, that the Hurtigruten ship Nord-Norge turned around after leaving Hammerfest, and headed back to safe harbour.

The Hurtigruten ship "Nord-Norge" in smoother seas. PHOTO: Hurtigruten

The Hurtigruten ship “Nord-Norge” in smoother seas. PHOTO: Hurtigruten

The ship was rocked so badly in the storm that the captain of the vessel announced over its loudspeaker that all passengers must either sit down or lie down. Ulf Syversen, who was among those on board, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that no one was allowed to move around the vessel or stand.

He said he was knocked off his feet before the captain’s warning came, and thrown against the wall of his cabin as the vessel was tossed by the waves. “We were sailing south and had come out in Loppa (the stretch of waters known as Lopphavet) when we got the hurricane-force winds in from the side,” said Syversen, who leads the board of the health care authority Helse Finnmark and was on his way to a meeting in Tromsø.

The captain, responsible for the roughly 250 persons on board, decided to change course and return to Hammerfest. Crews on board then went from cabin to cabin to reassure passengers and check for any injuries. Assistant purser Anna Hagberg said the situation on board was “relatively chaotic,” with lots of hectic clean-up activity needed after the storm toppled furniture that wasn’t bolted down and made a mess in the dining room.

“There are papers and dishes and food lying all over, but fortunately everyone on board is okay and they’ve taken this with good humour,” Hagberg told NRK. “There was only one passenger who got a bump on the head after running into a door.”

The storm also forced closure of many roads and highways in Troms and Vest-Finnmark, cancellations of most ferries and the grounding of aircraft. Flights were cancelled in and out f Tromsø and Bodø and a bus was swept off a road in Lofoten.

Even a coast guard vessel ran aground  at Rødbergodden in Lenvik, Troms County. There were 67 persons on board the vessel and others were on their way to assist. Military officials reported that no lives were in danger.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund