Hurtigruten, ferries lay off thousands

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Hurtigruten, Norway’s famed coastal voyage line, is laying off another 225 employees after also succumbing to the Corona virus crisis. The company earlier laid off 120 people at its offices around Norway, just a week after its chief executive had bragged that it was still sailing full steam ahead.

Now Daniel Skjeldam has changed his tone. “This is the worst crisis that we and the rest of the Norwegian travel industry have experienced for many decades,” Skjeldam wrote in a press release on Monday. “It’s an extraordinary situation that changes from hour to hour.”

Color Line, which runs cruise ferries, also confirmed up to 2,000 layoffs on Monday, not least after both its large vessels that run between Oslo and Kiel in Germany were laid up. Fjord Line is also laying off around 100 employees while Stena Line, which runs ferries from Oslo to Denmark, is letting 950 people go, around half of its employees in Sweden. The Danish line DFDS has also cancelled all its sailings between Oslo and Copenhagen.

Hurtigruten, which ranks as the world’s largest expedition cruise line and has heavily promoted its cruises to Antarctica, Alaska and through the Northwest Passage, had not had any cases of the Corona virus on its ships. Several harbours, however, also in Norway, have refused to let the vessels dock because of all the tourists on board.

The vessels deployed along the Norwegian coast are now only serving ports between Bergen and Kirkenes with local passengers, cargo, post, medicine and other goods bound for small communities.

newsinenglish.no staff