First cruise ship of the season arrives amid global coronavirus concerns

The first cruise ship of the 2020 cruise season has arrived into Lerwick this morning (Wednesday).

The 140 metre Fridtjof Nansen sailed in from Bergen, and will sail later tonight for Kirkwall.

The Norwegian ship, owned by Hurtigruten, is a new build for 2020 and is specifically made for expedition cruises.

Fridtjof Nansen is the first of 114 cruise ships currently scheduled to visit the Lerwick harbour this year, with the last to arrive on Wednesday 14th October.

The cruise season begins amid ongoing fears of the spread of coronavirus, with passengers aboard the Diamond Princess ship in Japan forced into quarantine after at least 600 passengers and crew fell ill with the disease.

Lerwick harbourmaster Alexander Simpson said this week that the port authority were employing the same measures as the rest of the world.

“The process is straightforward really, and is the same all round the world.

“The masters of any vessel is required by law to report on the health of crew and passengers prior to a port visit.

“If there is any issue declared the vessel is placed into quarantine and from there is a process which is followed according to our emergency plans.”


Add Your Comment
  • Kennedy Stewart

    • February 26th, 2020 19:41

    The incubation period for coronavirus could be up to 27 days. People carrying it don’t show symptons during this time. The virus thrives on cruise ships. Should we not cancel liners and politely request tourists from the parts of the world most affected by the outbreak don’t come to Shetland until a vaccine is developed?


      • March 5th, 2020 10:53

      I agree. Don’t make mistakes to infect Shetland! I want to get there in spring uninfected and return the same.

  • David Spence

    • February 27th, 2020 0:48

    This maybe a good measure to prevent the spread of the virus, but whatabout people arriving to Shetland by the boat and/or plane? What precautions are in place?

    Is policing the sea’s for other boats/fishing boats etc being looked into?

    Is it going to be the case of somebody being infected (human to human contact) and getting through the net, so to speak, before action is really taken? I believe the symptoms are similar to having pnuemonia or influenza?

    Would the medical facilities in Shetland manage to cope?

    What measures is the Lerwick Harbour Trust doing to prevent or possibly quarantine suspected boats with an infected person onboard?

    I believe there is no direct medication, anti-biotics, which will destroy the corona virus?

    Given Shetlands isolation, spreading the disease could be, potentially, limited or contained either to a level as isolating islands themselves?

    What would be the situation if a person on one of the islands became infected? Would the whole island be quarantined and/or measures in place to monitor the movement of people?

    How could you prevent the movement of people from one part of Shetland to another?

    Lets hope we are never put into this situation.

  • ian Tinkler

    • February 27th, 2020 11:52

    Perhaps we should dig a deep hole and jump into it!!
    For goodness sake get real, it is not the bubonic plague, flu kills far more, pollution and overpopulation even more than that. Perhaps stopping eating wild animals would be a good start and of course contraception ( density of peoples makes a wonderful breeding ground for infectious pathogens).

    • David Spence

      • February 27th, 2020 14:08

      I take your point, Ian. At the same time, I am interested in what action the authorities and the Council would do or implement if a tourist or resident was to become infected and what impact this would have on the movement of people around the islands?

      In some respect, this would possibly be an advantage in terms of isolating the virus if it was to get onto one of the islands, and precautions thereafter being enforced?

      As said though, I am curious as to what would happen if the corona virus was to get onto Shetland, and the actions thereafter by the authorities?

      • Ian Tinkler

        • February 27th, 2020 14:43

        A virus is only removable by mass immunity, by vaccination or everyone being exposed and natural immunity develops. (polio, smallpox, for example, mass vaccination and herd immunity)
        Rest assured the virus will In time find its way to Shetland. No force on Earth will stop that. We can try and delay until treatments become available, antivirals or successful vaccines must be developed. Just as with HIV, and herpes, in time that will happen. (eg. AZT, acyclovir)
        Cruise ships, fishing boats, perhaps postal packages, air travel, ferries are all possible routes however life goes on, those truly in fear best dig themselves a hole and jump in, until science finds a way to prevent or cure.
        Just look on the bright side, pangolins may be left alone by the Flat Earthers, natural medicine freaks and anti-vaccine morons.

    • Kennedy Stewart

      • February 28th, 2020 20:27

      The fatality rate for this coronavirus is much higher than it is for seasonal flu.

      Covid-19 is currently estimated to kill about 1% of people who catch it. This would make it about 10 times more deadly than seasonal flu, which is estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally.

      If this coronavirus becomes a pandemic then we are also at far greater risk of catching it than seasonal flu as nobody is immune to it because: a) there isn’t a vaccine; and b) it is a new virus so nobody has built up natural resistance to it from having had it before.

      Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP and Clinical Director of, speaking on Radio 4’s PM show this evening (28/2), said: “The big difference here is that people in the UK, and indeed across the world, are not immune to coronavirus and therefore the chances are there is a much greater risk of catching it.”

  • Ian Tinkler

    • February 27th, 2020 17:35

    For those generally afraid, this is not a very lethal virus. It, however, can kill the elderly and those with poor or suppressed immunity. (Those already ill with a seriously debilitating illness. Those physically unfit. overweight, lung damaged or just plain indolent.).
    Just maybe time to lose weight and get fit. There is a really good chance you could save your own life, failing that dig a big hole and jump in.

    • Ray Purchase

      • February 28th, 2020 19:27

      To be fair, you’re a retired dentist and not a real doctor, so you know no more about it than the next man in the street.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • February 29th, 2020 16:00

        Just for information, no branch of medicine or surgery, carries a greater risk of cross-infection than dental surgery . 10 to 25 patients a day, hands-on in blood and saliva using very sharp invasive instrument. Dental drills creat a blood/saliva aerosol which is an equivalent to a point-blank sneeze in the dentist and assistants face during most procedures. That is why dental staff have the most comprehensive courses in cross-infection control, virology and bacteriology than any branch of medicine. Give me coronavirus anyday, I trained when TB, syphilis, hepatitis type a.b and c , human papillomavirus, herpes and HIV were all common in many mouths. My dad, a few years earlier dealt with smallpox, Diptheria, gonorrhoea and polio! all far more dangerous and nasty than coronavirus so stop panicking and all the alarmist twaddle.

  • Kerrie Meyer

    • February 28th, 2020 9:40

    It’s not my intention to be an alarmist, but with an estimated 92,000 passengers from 105 cruise ships visiting Shetland this year, what special measures is the SIC and health authorities taking to ensure the Coronavirus doesn’t take hold on the island and threaten our small population? Is the Lerwick Port Authority properly equipped and staffed to handle such a task? I very much doubt it. One also has to consider the circa. 70,000 visitors who annually arrive in Shetland at Sumburgh Airport and the thousands who arrive on Northlink ferries. NHS posters and hand sanitizer may not be sufficient defense.

    • Ian Tinkler

      • February 28th, 2020 10:59

      It will be here. Viruses do not die out naturally. Just come to terms with that, maybe outer space is your best bet. Just do not panic, loads more likely ways to go.

      • Kennedy Stewart

        • February 28th, 2020 18:31

        It simply isn’t true to say the coronavirus will inevitably reach Shetland. It has been shown to be containable in some of the worst affected countries.

        Speaking on the Radio 4 Six O’clock News tonight (28/2), Dr Mike Ryan, the World Health Organisation’s Director of Health Emergencies, said: “If we say there is a pandemic of coronavirus, we are essentially accepting that every human on the planet will be exposed to that virus.

        “The data does not support that as yet, and China have clearly shown that is not necessarily the natural outcome of this event – if we take action, if we move quickly, if we do the things we need to do that does not need to be the history of this event.”

  • Mr ian Tinkler

    • February 29th, 2020 13:59

    Every human on Earth will eventually be exposed to this virus. It is simply a matter of time. This Genie is out of the bottle, it is just a matter of time no more. One just has to hope a vaccine or antiviral is developed soon but it really is not worth the media panic. Influenzal flu is far more dangerous. Regarding China containing the virus, Kennedy, clearly that is utter stupidity, it is well beyond China’s borders.

    • Kennedy Stewart

      • March 1st, 2020 20:16

      It’s not stupid at all. If China hadn’t taken the action it has (by putting Wuhan into lockdown, postponing the National People’s Congress, etc.) the coronavirus would be far more widespread and less contained.

      Every human may eventually be exposed to the virus but by taking action we can hopefully slow down the spread of it while a vaccine is developed.

      Covid-19 is estimated to be 10 times more deadly than seasonal flu (

      There is no point in being alarmist about coronavirus or anything else. It is a global health concern, however, and it’s very important people know the facts. We can’t afford to be blasé about it.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • March 2nd, 2020 15:09

    Perhaps, Kennedy, you should find more credible sours of information than the Guardian! China can lockdown its peoples, it is near dictatorship after all. Sadly that action proved futile and achieved nothing whatsoever. Lockdowns and unnecessary actions will just spread fear and hardship. Just how long can you. lockdown millions of people before starvation and panic kill more than the disease?

  • Ernie Lockwood

    • March 6th, 2020 11:30

    One must do what one can regarding pandemics. Isolation WILL moderate spread. Cruise ships appear to be good spreaders…

    • Ian Tinkler

      • March 6th, 2020 12:01

      It is people that spread disease, nothing more. If anything cruise ships moving slowly isolates disease and give a chance of contained early diagnosis and quarantine. Now try sharing the air and toilets on an aircraft with a couple of hundred others on a seven-hour flight. Then a short connector flight after sharing an airport hub with thousands of folk.. That is a very fast, vast spread of a virus 3 to 4 thousand miles with little or no chance of containment, all within a few hours. It is not rocket science.

      • Ernie Lockwood

        • March 7th, 2020 11:11

        “Cruise ships” is a metonomous term, obviously, or maybe not to the contentious among us. Efforts can be made. The Lerwick Harbour Trust, along with like, situational bodies, is faced with an invidious choice the outcome of which cannot please everyone. I sympathise.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • March 8th, 2020 9:25

    For us lesser mortals, who have no studied pretensions twaddle, please translate, Ernie. Even armed with a dictionary and thesaurus I have absolutely no idea what you are trying to say!


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