Norwegian police have arrested 14 Philippine crewmembers of the expedition cruise ship Nordstjernen on suspicion of violations of Norway's Immigration Act.
The 1956-built Nordstjernen ("North Star") was originally owned by Hurtigruten, but the well-known operator sold her to Bergen-based Vestland Marine in 2012. Hurtigruten occasionally leases the vessel back for its own voyages, and the foreign nationals were employed on a Hurtigruten trip.
"It is true that we have hired the ship," said Hurtigruten communications manager Rune Thomas Ege. "Last week, the ship sailed two short trips with passengers from Hurtigruten." Ege emphasized that the cruise firm has hundreds of subcontractors, and that they are required to follow all Norwegian laws and labor requirements as an "absolute requirement."
Vestland Marine's owner, Jarle Rasmussen, told NRK that the arrests were a misunderstanding over the requirements for work and residence permits. "If we've made a mistake, we will rectify it," he said. Police spokeswoman Charlotte Ringkjøb told NRK that they would be interrogating the detainees to determine the next steps in the investigation.