Friday, July 22, 2011

Massive Blast in Government Building Oslo Norway

A blast in Oslo, Norway today has torn through a government building housing the Norwegian prime minister's office, blowing out most of the windows according to a Reuters report.   It has been reported that at least two people are dead with several trapped and injured at the scene.

In a second incident near Oslo, a gunman, disguised as a policeman,  killed at least 80 people at an island youth camp northwest of Oslo.  He lured the victims to gather around and then shot them twice to be sure they were dead according to survivors.  The Prime Minister was to speak at the camp, which is organized by the ruling Labor Party, on Saturday.

The Norwegian gunman, who is believed to have been involved in both incidents, was taken into custody at the camp when police arrived in response to calls from the youths. 

UPDATE: Sunday, July 24th: It is confirmed that both events were the work of one Norwegian man who took the lives of at least 93 people.  He leaves behind a 1,500-page manifesto which borrowed passages from the Unibomber and others.  He will get his day in court, but will be denied the public platform he desired.  As reported in our original post, MSC Orchestra was in port at the time and departed safely with all passengers on board as scheduled.

Here is a video courtesy of  USA Today of the scene in Oslo, Norway:

Oslo - a Popular Cruise Destination

According to the Oslo Port Authority website, there are two ships in Oslo, Norway today:  Costa Atlantica (which should have already departed) and MSC Orchestra (which should have still been in port at the time of the blast).  Costa Magica is due into port on Saturday with several other ships calling there in the next seven days.

Oslo is one of many ports of call on a typical Baltic cruise vacation.   It is an easy city to tour on your own with a local hop-on-hop-off bus stopping right at the cruise terminal.  City Tours offers a tour route, that for the cost of approximately $20, included several of the popular sights such as Akershus Castle, the Vigeland Sculpture Park and the Viking Ship Museum.

Details are still coming in on the blast that occurred today.  Early reports indicate that the Prime Minister was not injured during the blast.    So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the explosion, so it is too early to say whether this was a terrorist attack or not.

Attacks Impact Cruise Call

Costa Magica was scheduled to call in Oslo on Saturday, but  the cruise line said that the ship will visit Kristiansand instead. Costa plans to resume calls to Oslo as scheduled next week.

Costa, Seabourn, MSC, Princess, and Celebrity all have ships scheduled to call in Oslo, Norway during the next seven days or so.   We will monitor this story to see if there is any additional impact on scheduled port calls.

Our thoughts go out to the people of Norway.  It is such a lovely area which normally is peaceful.   Summer time is the prime time for tourism, so this could be a very negative impact on their economy.

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