Hurtigruten suspends West Africa sailings due to ‘instability’ in region

Hurtigruten Group is amending fleet deployment while suspending planned sailings to West Africa for safety reasons 

Expansion of the HX(Hurtigruten Expeditions) portfolio for 2023-24 to include the area has been put on hold.

“Due to increasing levels of instability in the region, HX has elected to pause its operations for the upcoming season to ensure the safety of our guests and crew,” the company said.

The itinerary had included visits to Dakar in Senegal and Banjul in The Gambia together with the Bissagos Islands off the coast of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.

Meanwhile, the ship MS Maud will make a temporary return to Hurtigruten to run Norwegian coastal sailings from November 1 as part of a state contract, while HX will amend fleet deployment in the wake of its most successful Antarctic season ever.

MS Maud will run scheduled sailings from mid-April as part of planned British Isles itineraries, before heading to the Arctic for the summer. 

The ship will then transfer to the Hurtigruten fleet from November, returning to the expeditions arm in 2026 after the secondment.

MS Maud previously operated on the Norwegian coast, but joined the HX fleet three years ago.

Passengers booked on any impacted sailings have been contacted directly or will be contacted by their travel agent, the company said.

A full refund or 125% future cruise credit will be offered depending on the itinerary. 

Those on selected Antarctic sailings on MS Maud have been transferred to sailings on the hybrid ships MS Fridtjof Nansen, MS Fram or MS Roald Amundsen.

If HX is unable to find a suitable replacement cruise it will protect agent commission on money received, the company said.

Group chief executive Daniel Skjeldam said: “Hurtigruten is undertaking the most significant environmental upgrade in the cruise industry. 

“The diverse fleet capabilities of the Hurtigruten Group gives us the opportunity to temporarily move MS Maud from HX to Hurtigruten, filling the void left by the upgrade programme. MS Maud will return to HX again in 2026.”

Hurtigruten Group operates a fleet of 16 ships with MS Maud sailing the Norwegian coast between 2003-16 as part of the Hurtigruten Coastal Express fleet. The ship started operations in Antarctica from 2016, moving across to the HX fleet from 2021.

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