Tuesday, 21 October 2008

HURTIGRUTEN'S MS NORDNORGE CAPTAIN AND CREW HONORED


HURTIGRUTEN'S MS NORDNORGE CAPTAIN AND CREW HONORED WITH AFRAS AWARD FOR THEIR EFFORTS IN RESCUING 154 PASSENGERS FROM SINKING EXPEDITION SHIP

Captain Arnvid Hansen and the crew of Hurtigruten's MS Nordnorge were honored by the Association for Rescue at Sea, Inc. (AFRAS) at the association's annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. for their efforts in the rescue of the crew and passengers of a sinking expedition ship. On November 23, 2007, MS Nordnorge's captain and crew came to the aid of 154 passengers and crew sailing aboard the Explorer, an expedition cruise ship that hit ice and eventually sank off the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula.

"Thanks to the willingness of the captain and crew of MS Nordnorge to divert from course and expertly come to the rescue of the passengers from the sinking cruise ship Explorer, 154 lives were saved," AFRAS said in a prepared statement.

Answering an Amver distress call, Captain Hansen and his crew diverted the MS Nordnorge, an ice-rated ship made to travel in these types of waters, from its itinerary and sailed approximately five hours to reach the area where the Explorer's passengers and crew had taken to the rough and frigid seas in lifeboats. Hansen and his crew focused their efforts on bringing those passengers and crew safely aboard the 350-passenger MS Nordnorge where the ship's on-board medical staff examined each of them. No injuries were reported beyond being cold and tired. MS Nordnorge passengers were also involved, offering comforting words and much needed clothing to the evacuees, while ship ferried their new guests and crew to King George Island for flights to the South American mainland.

AFRAS is a non-profit foundation, supporting services concerned with saving lives at sea. The AFRAS Amver award was created in 1996 to recognize the contributions of seamen in ships at sea to the safety of all their fellow mariners. Nominations for all awards are made by the United States Coast Guard's Search and Rescue Division.

Built in 1997, the MS Nordnorge was custom crafted to cruise Norway's narrow fjords and icy polar waters. Its interiors feature Art Nouveau and Art Deco embellishments, a variety of staterooms and suites, restaurant, panoramic lounges, library, Internet cafe and conference rooms.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in exploration cruising sailing to the most remote of destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic's Spitsbergen. For more information about the cruise line, contact Hurtigruten at (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300; fax (212) 319-1390; for brochures, (800) 666-2374, 24 hours a day; www.hurtigruten.us