The cruise ship operator, Transocean Tours of Bremen, has confirmed that 200 passengers aboard Marco Polo currently have symptoms of suspected norovirus, according to a press statement released today.

Three people remain in Raigmore Hospital after falling ill on board the ship. One person has been discharged, and one further patient has been admitted. In total there are still four people in hospital at this time, according to Transocean.

In an unrelated incident yesterday, the companty stated, a 74-year-old male passenger, died on board ship. He had serious underlying health conditions. The cause of death has not yet been identified. A post mortem will be carried out.

A team of local GPs and nurses are working with the Marco Polo medical team to treat passengers with symptoms.

A spokesman for Transocean Tours said: "The management of Transocean Tours, the ship owners, Story Cruise Ltd and the NHS authorities are working closely together ensuring the maintenance of the standard Health Protection Agency protocols that are in place to minimize the effect of the virus and eradicate it.

"Marco Polo began her current cruise in Tilbury on Saturday 4th July and yesterday called at Invergordon, where the ship's medical staff invited the local port health officials for a common inspection because of the increased number of cases during the previous night.

The ship had previously been on a cruise to Iceland. A very small number of people on board had suffered symptoms of gastro-enteritis during the cruise but this is unrelated to the current outbreak and Port authorities gave the ship a clean bill of health when it docked at Tilbury."