Captain Rune Andreassen, master of the purpose built, ice-strengthened specialist adventure cruise ship Fram owned by Hurtigruten, talks to Steve Newman about his career, ship and the challenges of ice navigation.

Why did you go to sea?I guess the sea is in my blood. My father was a ship captain and every school holiday I went on board with him. When I was growing up in that part of north Norway, the Lofoten Islands, it was common for young men to go to sea or to take up fishing.

Where did you train?I did my qualifications at the maritime college in Budes, Norway over the course of two years. Before that I had been at sea for five years, as in those days you needed experience first as a precondition for entry into cadet school. I also did one year of training on the tall ship Christian Radich and gained my first navigation licence in 1991.

view from the bridge

What was your first command?My first command was in 1997, when I became Chief Officer on NordNorge. I was then on Narvik, as Hurtigruten consisted of two different companies at that time. I have also worked on ferries and local ships before transferring to work on the famous Hurtigruten coastal service, which operates from Bergen to Kirkenes delivering the post and cargo, and have been there for 17 years.

How is this job different?You need to like to talk to people and it’s important to be as natural as possible when meeting passengers. The guests see me walking round the ship and want to chat. You have to be a diplomat, and maybe this is not a job for a younger man; it’s probably better to have a certain amount of life experience. As far as schedules go, I work six weeks on and six weeks off in Antarctica, and four weeks in Europe. You need the long turnaround for recovery after an Antarctic trip, but I have been with Fram since she came into service. I love working on her and am very happy here.

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