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Home → February, 2012

Monthly Archives: February 2012 − News & Stories


Shrimp traw­ling in Hin­lo­pen­ren­na

The Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ty for Fishery (Fis­ke­ri­di­rek­to­ra­tet) has ope­ned an area for shrimp traw­ling that has been off limits for fishing ships until now. Hin­lo­pen­ren­na includes Hin­lo­pen strait as well as deep water are­as north and south of it.

The press release of the Fis­ke­ri­di­rek­to­ra­tet does not include any fur­ther details.

Hin­lo­pen Strait.

Shrimp trawling in Hinlopenrenna - data-lazy-src=

Com­pul­so­ry pilo­ta­ge in Spits­ber­gen

The Nor­we­gi­an Kyst­ver­ket (coas­tal and navi­ga­ti­on aut­ho­ri­ty) plans to intro­du­ce com­pul­so­ry pilo­ta­ge for most of the waters around Spits­ber­gen. Coal freigh­ters to Sveagru­a­va may have to car­ry pilots alre­a­dy in the upco­ming sum­mer of 2012. From 2014, this will app­ly to all ships lon­ger than 70 met­res and pas­sen­ger ships lon­ger than 24 met­res. Only parts of Isfjord and Bell­sund will be excluded.

Cap­ta­ins with suf­fi­ci­ent expe­ri­ence and local know­ledge can, after a test, be cer­ti­fied to be except­ed from com­pul­so­ry pilo­ta­ge. If this is prac­ti­ca­ble remains to be seen: cos­ts and fees will be high, and it should curr­ent­ly not be taken for gran­ted that tests will be available in other lan­guages than Nor­we­gi­an. Ano­ther requi­re­ment will pro­ba­b­ly be that a cer­ti­fied Cap­tain or navi­ga­ti­on offi­cer is in char­ge on the bridge at any time when the ship is moving. This will hard­ly be prac­ti­ca­ble for smal­ler ships and it does not con­tri­bu­te any­thing to nau­ti­cal safe­ty: lar­ge parts of most com­mon sai­ling rou­tes in Spits­ber­gen (Sval­bard) are nau­ti­cal­ly very easy and straight­for­ward and can easi­ly be hand­led by all navi­ga­ti­on offi­cers.

Smal­ler ships bet­ween 24 and 100 met­res, so-cal­led expe­di­ti­on crui­se ships, will be threa­ten­ed with an imme­dia­te ter­mi­na­ti­on of their acti­vi­ties: the cos­ts for pilo­ta­ge during a 10 day crui­se will be bey­ond 100,000 Euro, an amount that makes sai­ling eco­no­mic­al­ly com­ple­te­ly impos­si­ble.

Lar­ge parts of the waters around Spits­ber­gen are deep and well enough char­ted by now to allow com­pa­ra­tively easy navi­ga­ti­on. Whe­re pilots can be found who can make a noti­ceable dif­fe­rence in more dif­fi­cult waters, com­pared to what pre­sent-day Cap­ta­ins can do, remains an open ques­ti­on at the time of wri­ting. The law is sup­po­sed to enter force on 01 July 2012.

Spits­ber­gen is annu­al­ly visi­ted by ships of dif­fe­rent sizes. The har­bor of Ny Åle­sund.

Compulsory pilotage in Spitsbergen - Cruise ship and sailing ship, Ny Alesund

Source: Kyst­ver­ket

Tem­pe­ra­tu­re records in Spits­ber­gen

While cen­tral and eas­tern Euro­pe are suf­fe­ring from seve­re cold, tem­pe­ra­tures in Spits­ber­gen are hig­her than ever mea­su­red in Febru­ary. Mea­su­ring was star­ted in 1975. Lon­gye­ar­by­en air­port had 7 degrees cen­ti­gra­de abo­ve free­zing, exact­ly 1 degree hig­her than the pre­vious record for Febru­ary (mea­su­red 17.2.2005).

Also Sveagru­va has the doubtful honour to pre­sent a new record, amoun­ting to 6.5 degrees, or 1.3 degrees hig­her than pre­vious­ly (5.2 degrees on 22.2.2006). Also the other sta­ti­ons in Ny Åle­sund and on Hopen and Bear Island have tem­pe­ra­tures abo­ve free­zing.

Towards the weekend the mer­cu­ry is expec­ted to drop well below zero again.

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Hard­ly any drift ice around Spits­ber­gen

Not only the wea­ther, but also the ice situa­ti­on around Spits­ber­gen is curr­ent­ly very unu­su­al. Espe­ci­al­ly the rela­tively high water tem­pe­ra­tures have a strong effect on the for­ma­ti­on and dis­tri­bu­ti­on of drift ice. Sta­tis­ti­cal­ly, the annu­al maxi­mum is rea­ched in April. As litt­le ice as now in ear­ly Febru­ary is very unu­su­al.

Fur­ther east, in Franz Josef Land, the­re is a den­se and exten­si­ve drift ice cover.

Hardly any drift ice around Spitsbergen

Ice chart published on Febru­ary 03, 2012.

Source (ice chart): Nor­we­gi­an meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal insti­tu­te met.no

Wea­ther capers in Spits­ber­gen

The last days have seen some rather unu­su­al wea­ther phe­no­me­na in Spits­ber­gen. On Mon­day (Janu­ary 30), Lon­gye­ar­by­en was the war­mest place in Nor­way with 4 degrees cen­ti­gra­de abo­ve free­zing. 26,5 mm of rain did not make it more enjoya­ble, and as a con­se­quence, seve­ral roads had to be clo­sed due to a stron­gly increased ava­lan­che risk and a landing at the air­port had to be can­cel­led due to slick­ness.

The rain was not­hing com­pared to Ny Åle­sund, whe­re a con­sidera­ble 98 mm were mea­su­red within 24 hours, which is cle­ar­ly a local record. The war­mest day mea­su­red in Spits­ber­gen so far in Janu­ary was howe­ver Janu­ary 01, 2006, when the mer­cu­ry went up to 7,7 degrees. In com­pa­ri­son, one year ago (Janu­ary 30, 2011) it was as cold as 31,5 degrees below zero.

Chan­ging wea­ther with cold and warm spells is typi­cal for the cold sea­son, but the recent warm pha­se is unu­sual­ly long and inten­se.

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

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