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Daily Archives: 26. June 2014 − News & Stories


MS Lan­gøy­sund belie­ved to pay ille­gal­ly low wages

MS Lan­gøy­sund is a day trip boat ope­ra­ting every sum­mer from Lon­gye­ar­by­en in the Isfjord area. Every day from June to Sep­tem­ber, it is sai­ling to Bar­ents­burg or Pyra­mi­den, pas­sing high­lights of natu­re inclu­ding gla­ciers and bird cliffs.

The ongo­ing sea­son is, so far, not going too well for Lan­gøy­sund and the owner com­pa­ny. A few weeks ago, the ship ran aground in Borebuk­ta. The hull was dama­ged and the pas­sen­gers had to con­ti­nue their jour­ney back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en on ano­t­her ship. At least it did not take too long befo­re Lan­gøy­sund was repa­red and clea­red for sai­ling again.

Now, the owner com­pa­ny, Hen­ningsen Trans­port og Gui­ding (HTG) in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, is facing accu­sa­ti­ons of paying ille­gal low wages to the crew. Alrea­dy in April, the respon­si­ble uni­on (Nor­sk Sjø­manns­for­bund) had to take action to make sure the crew, which is lar­ge­ly of Phil­ip­pi­ne natio­na­li­ty, is get­ting Nor­we­gi­an con­tract, as requi­red by Nor­we­gi­an law for any ship sai­ling under Nor­we­gi­an flag.

During a con­trol in Lon­gye­ar­by­en it tur­ned out that the crew has got Nor­we­gi­an con­tracts, but is not get­ting the wages accord­ing to it. Accord­ing to con­tract and Nor­we­gi­an law, the mini­mum wage for crew on ships under Nor­we­gi­an flag is 5,000 US-$ plus over­ti­me pay, which can be expec­ted to be signi­fi­cant. But accord­ing to Nor­sk Sjø­manns­for­bund, the crew see hard­ly 1,500 US-$. Coope­ra­ti­on with the Phil­ip­pi­nes is dif­fi­cult for the uni­on, as they fear to be black-lis­ted by their con­trac­ting agen­cy even if their wages are, in theo­ry, gua­ran­te­ed by law.

Accord­ing to the owner, HTG, the con­tract part­ner of the crew mem­bers is an agen­cy in Mani­la, which is recei­ving pay­ment from HTG to dis­tri­bu­te it to the indi­vi­du­al crew mem­bers. HTG sta­tes that con­tract and pay­ment are cor­rect and does not con­si­der to pro­vi­de docu­men­ta­ti­on of pay­ment to Nor­sk Sjø­manns­for­bund as requi­red. The uni­on has set a dead­line which ran out today (Thurs­day) at 9 a.m. As Nor­sk Sjø­manns­for­bund has not recei­ved any pay­ment docu­men­ta­ti­on, they have now announ­ced to arrest the ship.

HTG is facing simi­lar accu­sa­ti­ons on MS Bill­efjord, ano­t­her day trip boat, new in the busi­ness in Spits­ber­gen. In this case, HTG is not the owner, but lar­ge­ly respon­si­ble for the manage­ment.

MS Lan­gøy­sund in Ymer­buk­ta. Is the crew get­ting ille­gal low wages?

MS Langøysund, Ymerbukta

Source: Nor­sk Sjø­manns­for­bund

Sur­ge of ice cap Aus­t­fon­na: time lap­se video

Parts of Aus­t­fon­na, the lar­ge ice cap on Nord­aus­t­land, have recent­ly advan­ced rapidly or “sur­ged”, as sci­en­tists call this beha­viour, which is cau­sed by gla­cier dyna­mics rather than cli­ma­te chan­ge. See Aus­t­fon­na: an ice cap on the move, Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news ear­lier in June.

The Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te has publis­hed a time lap­se video com­po­sed of about 1000 sin­gle satel­li­te images that visua­li­zes the sur­ge of Aus­t­fon­na impres­si­ve­ly. Parts of the gla­cier front advan­ced more than 4 kilo­me­tres. The sur­ge cul­mi­na­ted in 2012.

More about sur­ging gla­ciers in gene­ral and Aus­t­fon­na in Rocks and Ice.

The sur­ge of an ice cap of the size of Aus­t­fon­na has con­se­quen­ces. It is cur­r­ent­ly by the lar­gest con­tri­bu­tor to glo­bal sea level rise in the who­le Spits­ber­gen archi­pe­la­go, with a con­tri­bu­ti­on out­weig­hing all other gla­ciers in Sval­bard tog­e­ther. Local­ly, it may cau­se hazards to navi­ga­ti­on: the den­si­ty of ice­bergs is incre­a­sed, and the pushing gla­cier front may have chan­ged sea bot­tom topo­gra­phy.

Time-lap­se video com­po­sed of about 1000 satel­li­te images, showing the sur­ge of Aus­t­fon­na (© Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te, Screen­shot). Click here to see the video on You­tube.

Surge Austfonna

Source: Nor­we­gi­sches Polar­in­sti­tut

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