Polar bear killed after attacking Arctic cruise ship guard

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The MS Bremen, a cruise ship that is part of the Hapag-Lloyd fleet, was in port in the northernmost Svalbard island when a cruise ship worker was attacked by a bear.

He was assigned to protect tourists who had landed on Svalbard's northernmost island from the MS Bremen, which is operated by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

"He is out of danger, with no threat to life", the post reads.

The bear was shot dead by another employee, the cruise company said after the incident on Saturday. To prepare for a shore leave, the polar bear guards go ashore in advance after sighting the landing site as a group and without passengers.

It's mandatory that cruise ships travelling in the northern region have polar bear guards on board.

News of the shooting was criticized on social media by observers who blamed the cruise line for intruding on the polar bear's habitat.

The statement mentions the remaining guards' attempts to remove the polar bear without force before they shot and subsequently killed the animal.

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The animal was shot by a second guard but a spokesperson for the German cruise ship's operator said it was killed "in an act of self-defence". "On the contrary", the statement explains, "polar bears are only observed from aboard ships, from a safe distance".

"He was attacked by a bear and bitten in the head", Ole Jakob Malmo, chief superintendent of Svalbard police, said. The other guards shot the bear after trying unsuccessfully to evict the animal, the company said. In 2015, Czech Jakub Moravec was pulled out of the tent by a polar bear, but escaped with slight damage.

"Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has worked comprehensively and co-operatively with the Norwegian authorities to reconstruct and clarify the incident on the ground and will continue to do so", the company added.

Global warming is having a negative impact on polar bears.

But critics online say the bear was only acting like a bear, and didn't deserve to die.

One user suggested: "If you need a 4-person polar bear guard team perhaps you should not be visiting here".