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Home → July, 2012

Monthly Archives: July 2012 − News


Intro­duc­tion of com­pul­so­ry pilo­ta­ge in Spits­ber­gen

The step­wi­se intro­duc­tion of com­pul­so­ry pilo­ta­ge in Spits­ber­gen has star­ted July 01. So far, pilo­ta­ge is man­da­to­ry only for the sai­ling rou­te to and from Sveagru­va in Van Mijen­fjord. The first ship that deci­ded to make use of pilo­ta­ge en rou­te to Lon­gye­ar­by­en was the Ger­man crui­se ship Aida Cara (pas­sen­ger capa­ci­ty 1186), as the Cap­tain had never been to Spits­ber­gen befo­re. The pilot came from Nor­way by pla­ne for the job.

The Aida Cara used a pilo­te to go along­side at Byka­ia in Lon­gye­ar­by­en on July, 02.

Introduction of compulsory pilotage in Spitsbergen - Aida Cara

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten (2612)

East Sval­bard manage­ment plan

In mid July, the Sys­sel­man­nen has publis­hed his new pro­po­sal for a new manage­ment plan for the lar­ge natu­re reser­ves in eas­tern Sval­bard. The radi­cal ear­lier pro­po­sals which inclu­de clo­sing most are­as for public traf­fic seem to have vanis­hed after strong cri­ti­zism they have met almost ever­y­whe­re. Accord­ing to the Sys­sel­man­nen, the most signi­fi­cant chan­ges from the pre­sent sta­tus quo are the clo­sing of parts of Lågøya and Tus­enøya­ne from May 15 to August 15.

Any comments on the cur­rent pro­po­sal can be for­war­ded to the Sys­sel­man­nen (whe­re they will pro­bab­ly go strai­ght to the bin unless you are part of the rele­vant hig­her beau­ro­cra­cy in Oslo or you work for the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te) until Octo­ber 10.

Fur­ther details will be pos­ted here as the pro­cess is going on.

Tus­enøya­ne (Delit­schøya, alrea­dy com­ple­te­ly off limits today, in the pic­tu­re) are pro­po­sed to be clo­sed from May 15 to August 15.

East Svalbard management plan - Tusenøyane

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen

Inte­res­ting wild­life encoun­ters

Several inte­res­ting or even spec­ta­cu­lar wild­life sightin­gs have alrea­dy been made during the still young expe­di­ti­on crui­sing in Spits­ber­gen. The most inte­res­ting ones may be 3 sightin­gs of very rare Bowhead wha­les off the north coast, inclu­ding one encoun­ter with 2 indi­vi­du­als!

Bowhead wha­le near the north coast of Spits­ber­gen (2006)

Interesting wildlife encounters

Source: Per­so­nal com­mu­n­a­ti­on with Mor­ten Jør­gen­sen (fel­low tour gui­de)

No char­ting of waters around Spits­ber­gen in 2012

Offi­cial­ly, nau­ti­cal safe­ty is important enough to the Nor­we­gi­an sta­te that com­pul­so­ry pilo­ta­ge is about to be intro­du­ced. It is obvious­ly howe­ver not important enough to con­ti­nue char­ting of the coas­tal waters. Lar­ge are­as, espe­cial­ly in the remo­te parts of the archi­pe­la­go, are still most­ly bad­ly or even unchar­ted. Char­ting the­se waters would be far more use­ful to nau­ti­cal safe­ty than (com­pul­so­ry) pilo­ta­ge – without good charts, the pilot won’t know the dan­gers eit­her. Nevertheless, it has recent­ly been deci­ded to give Nor­we­gi­an coas­tal waters prio­ri­ty this sum­mer.

Con­si­de­ring the cur­rent acti­vi­ty level, it will take ano­t­her 40 to 80 years from now until all coas­tal waters around the Spits­ber­gen archi­pe­la­go will be com­ple­te­ly char­ted with modern methods.

Spitsbergen’s unchar­ted waters can have dan­ge­rous shal­lows.

No charting of waters around Spitsbergen in 2012 - Diskobugt 13.-22 Juni 2012

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Com­pul­so­ry pilo­ta­ge

Com­pul­so­ry pilo­ta­ge will from now on be intro­du­ced in Spitsbergen’s coas­tal waters. First legal steps have been made on July 01. Coal freigh­ters will from now on have to have pilots on board for the pas­sa­ge in to the Nor­we­gi­an coal mining sett­le­ment Sveagru­va. Fur­ther legal steps will fol­low until the law is ful­ly in for­ce in 2014. All ships lon­ger than 150 metres will then have to have a pilot on board.

Cap­tains and nau­ti­cal offi­cers with local expe­ri­ence on smal­ler pas­sen­ger ships can get a so-cal­led fair­way cer­ti­fi­ca­te which will enab­le them to sail without pilot. It was fea­red that regu­la­ti­ons for the­se cer­ti­fi­ca­tes would make it prac­ti­cal­ly impos­si­ble for even the most expe­ri­en­ced cap­tains to obtain such cer­ti­fi­ca­tes, but it has been announ­ced that impro­ve­ments will be made to adjust important details to local con­di­ti­ons.

Ein Kreuz­fahrt­schiff die­ser Grö­ße ist mit einem Lot­sen auf der Brü­cke in Spitz­ber­gen sicher nicht schlecht bera­ten. Im Bild die »Grand Princess« (3100 Pas­sa­gie­re Kapa­zi­tät) am 29. Juni 2012 vor Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Geo­lo­gy-gui­de for the Lon­gye­ar­by­en area

A litt­le geo­lo­gi­cal gui­de­book about the Lon­gye­ar­by­en area has now been publis­hed and will be offi­cial­ly pre­sen­ted on 30 June in the Sval­bard­mu­se­um in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Earth histo­ry from the days of the dino­saurs through the coal age and more recent land­s­cape-forming pro­ces­ses inclu­ding gla­ciers and per­ma­frost are brief­ly exp­lai­ned on 36 pages.

Aut­hors are Kars­ten Piep­john (Bun­des­an­stalt für Geo­wis­sen­schaf­ten und Roh­stof­fe), Mal­te Joch­mann (Store Nor­ske Spits­ber­gen Kull­kom­pa­ni) and Rolf Stan­ge (amongst others owner of this web­site). Chris­tia­ne Hüb­ner (Lon­gye­ar­by­en Feltbio­lo­gis­ke Fore­ning) is the edi­tor of the book­let, which is avail­ab­le in Eng­lish, Nor­we­gi­an and Ger­man.

All aut­hors will be pre­sent during the offi­cial pre­sen­ta­ti­on, which will inclu­de a litt­le excur­si­on. Ever­y­bo­dy who hap­pens to be in Lon­gye­ar­by­en on June 30 is wel­co­me. No pro­blem if you are not the­re: the book­let will soon be avail­ab­le on this web­site.

The new Lon­gye­ar­by­en-geo­lo­gy-gui­de is avail­ab­le in Eng­lish, Nor­we­gi­an and Ger­man.

Geology-guide for the Longyearbyen area

Source: Mor­ten Jør­gen­sen (fel­low expe­di­ti­on lea­der col­league)

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