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Home → March, 2011

Monthly Archives: March 2011 − News


Cos­ts for search and res­cue

The num­ber of SAR (search and res­cue) ope­ra­ti­ons car­ri­ed out annu­al­ly by the Sys­sel­man­nen and Red Cross has incre­a­sed to 60-80. Less care­full plan­ning, poten­ti­al­ly due to the avai­la­bi­li­ty of modern com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on tech­no­lo­gy (satel­li­te pho­ne etc) may have con­tri­bu­t­ed to this deve­lo­p­ment.

Non-resi­dents are obli­ged to app­ly for per­mis­si­on for visits to most parts of Sval­bard. Insuran­ce cover for poten­ti­al SAR cos­ts is com­pul­so­ry to obtain any per­mis­si­on. In prac­ti­ce, the Sys­sel­man­nen has, so far, usual­ly not clai­med cos­ts back from the res­cued person(s). As the cos­ts have incre­a­sed with the num­ber of ope­ra­ti­ons, the bill from now on not be paid any­mo­re by the Nor­we­gi­an tax payer, but by tho­se respon­si­ble for the ope­ra­ti­on. This has, in theo­ry, alrea­dy been the case, but it has usual­ly not been app­lied, a prac­ti­ce that has now been announ­ced to be chan­ged. Most SAR ope­ra­ti­ons invol­ve heli­co­p­ter flights, which quick­ly invol­ves a bill of 100.000 NOK (cur­r­ent­ly ca 12.700 Euro) or more.

This app­lies for any trips that requi­re per­mis­si­on and insuran­ce. Whe­re this does not app­ly, that is for tou­rists wit­hin admi­nis­tra­ti­on area 10 (Nor­dens­kiöld Land, Dick­son Land, Brøg­ger­hal­vøya), the res­cued person(s) will also in the future have to car­ry the cos­ts only in cases of gross careless­ness.

SAR-heli­co­p­ter: qui­te expen­si­ve.

Costs for search and rescue - Helicopter

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen

Record deple­ti­on of arc­tic ozone

Excep­tio­nal­ly strong cold in the hig­her atmo­s­phe­re has in recent weeks led to the loss of about half of the stra­to­s­phe­ric ozone. The cold as such is a natu­ral con­di­ti­on, but it infor­ces pro­ces­ses that lead to the dest­ruc­tion of ozone whe­re man-made “ozone kil­lers” such as FCKWs are invol­ved. This inclu­des sub­s­tance that have been ban­ned for years, as they remain in the atmo­s­phe­re for a long time befo­re they are final­ly bro­ken down.

As the polar air mixes with air mas­ses in lower lati­tu­des, sci­en­tists recom­mend to pay spe­cial atten­ti­on to sun pro­tec­tion against UV radia­ti­on during the com­ing spring.

Some pro­ces­ses in the arc­tic atmo­s­phe­re have very plea­sant results, other ones less so

Record depletion of arctic ozone - Varfluesjoen

Source: Sval­bard Sci­ence Forum

Father puts hims­elf and his two sons at risk

A Swe­dish fami­ly has shown an ama­zing ran­ge of opti­ons to do it the wrong way: The fami­ly, father and two sons (11 and 20 years old), came to Lon­gye­ar­by­en as indi­vi­du­al tou­rists and ren­ted snow scoo­ters and satel­li­te pho­ne (at least!) for a pri­va­te trip to Bar­ents­burg. As even groups accom­pa­nied by gui­des had deci­ded to can­cel their trips to Bar­ents­burg and take alter­na­ti­ve rou­tes becau­se of adver­se wea­ther con­di­ti­ons, the fami­ly recei­ved warnings in Lon­gye­ar­by­en to chan­ge their plans, pre­fer­a­b­ly in favour of a gui­ded tour. They went any­way, spent a night in Bar­ents­burg and came into trou­ble on the way back – again after igno­ring a warning and advice to wait in Bar­ents­burg for bet­ter wea­ther.

The 3 got stuck in Sem­mel­da­len and cal­led for help. Res­cue teams tried repeated­ly with snow scoo­ters and heli­co­p­ter, but had to turn around becau­se of dif­fi­cult con­di­ti­ons. Only when the wea­ther impro­ved slight­ly near mid­ni­ght, could res­cuers reach the fami­ly, who was alrea­dy affec­ted by wet and cold.

The Sys­sel­man­nen stron­gly recom­mends indi­vi­du­al tou­rists without expe­ri­ence to join gui­ded tours and to con­si­der wea­ther fore­cast, advice and warnings from aut­ho­ri­ties and locals care­ful­ly. As the fami­ly deci­ded to igno­re the­se com­mon sen­se rules com­ple­te­ly, they may have to face the bill for the search and res­cue ope­ra­ti­on, which is esti­ma­ted around 15.000 Euro.

Should be taken serious­ly: win­ter arc­tic

Father puts himself and his two sons at risk - Podbeschniggbreen

Adden­dum: In a let­ter to the edi­tor (Sval­bard­pos­ten 10/2011), the fami­ly sta­tes that, befo­re star­ting the return trip from Bar­ents­burg, the Sys­sel­man­nen advi­sed that they should try, rather than wai­t­ing for bet­ter wea­ther in Bar­ents­burg. They also wri­te that tech­ni­cal fail­u­re of one of the snow­mo­bi­les and bad bat­te­ry per­for­mance of the ren­ted satel­li­te pho­ne con­tri­bu­t­ed to the wor­se­ning of the situa­ti­on, final­ly lea­ding to a call for help.

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen

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