Polar bear shot dead after attack on Svalbard

The bear was shot by a cruise ship employee, after it attacked an injured another employee.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - July 30, 2018
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A polar bear, which Norwegian authorities said attacked and injured a cruise ship employee who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on an Arctic archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, is seen after being shot dead by another employee according to the cruise company, in Svalbard, July 28, 2018. (Gustav Busch Arntsen / Governor of Svalbard / NTB Scanpix/via Reuters)

A polar bear was shot and killed Saturday after it attacked and injured a tour guide.

The attack happened Saturday morning when a group of tourists went on shore from a cruise ship, according to the Joint Rescue Center of Northern Norway.

The injured person, who was transported back to Longyearbyen by helicopter, is reported to be in stable condition. The polar bear was shot dead by another cruise ship company employee.

Svalbardposten, who was first to report about the incident, said the tourists belonged to the cruise ship MS Bremen. Responsibility for investigating the event falls to the Governor of Svalbard.

On Sunday, MS Bremen operator Hapag Lloyd released a statement confirming some of the basic details reported elsewhere and saying it planned to cooperate with investigators.

“We very much regret this incident,” the company said. “Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is very aware of its responsibility when travelling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife.”

Sjuøyene are the northernmost group of islands on the Svalbard archipelago. The number of passenger vessels sailing expedition cruising in the waters around Svalbard has increased over the last few years and more are expected to start sailing as a fleet of almost 20 new ice-classed expedition ships currently are under construction.