In what is being called "an act of self-defense" by Hapag-Lloyd cruise line, the bear was shot by a guard specifically hired to protect their guests and crew during risky encounters.
The attack took place after the MS Bremen cruise ship landed on the most northern island of the Svalbard archipelago, a region located between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the Joint Rescue Coordination for Northern Norway said on Twitter.
All cruise ships sailing in the region were obliged to have polar bear guards aboard, Etminan said. Etminan said the victim did not appear to suffer life-threatening injuries.
The injured man was taken by helicopter to the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen island. His identity was not released.
The cruise company said the polar bear was shot dead "in an act of self-defense".
"Polar Bear shot dead for being a wild animal in its own territory... outrageous!" another wrote.
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Police have launched an investigation into the attack, which will involve an investigation of the bear's body, said Svalbard police superintendent Ole Jakob Malmo.
The man was a crew member onboard MS Bremen operated by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. All ships in the area are required to have guards to protect passengers from polar bears as they sightsee.
Polar bears have been protected in Norway since 1973 and almost 1,000 were counted on Svalbard during a 2015 census.
Arctic tourism has risen sharply in the last few years and it is now the high season. A promotional film (see above) highlights wildlife, including polar bears.
Given that the current "population status" of polar bears is listed as "vulnerable" due to their decreasing number, it is perhaps not surprising that the company has come under intense fire for how the incident played out.
Norwegian authorities confirmed the bear was shot and killed on Saturday.