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Home → August, 2014

Monthly Archives: August 2014 − News


Arc­tic sea­son 2014: pho­tos, blog

The arc­tic sea­son 2014 ist not over yet, but a good num­ber of pho­to gal­le­ries are alrea­dy online, and so is my arc­tic blog, of cour­se. The recent trips in Spits­ber­gen with SV Anti­gua and SY Arc­ti­ca II have both been ama­zing. Both yiel­ded a wealth of impres­si­ons and memo­ries, some of them cap­tu­red with the came­ra, and you are wel­co­me to join the­se trips now online.

More sto­ries from the icy road in my arc­tic blog (click here).

Wit­hin a few weeks, I will add sli­de­shows of the indi­vi­du­al trips on the respec­ti­ve sites, and the­re is still one more trip to come in Sep­tem­ber.

Enjoy some vir­tu­al tra­vel­ling in the Arc­tic!

Arc­ti­ca II in August with a visi­tor.

Arctica II with polar bear

Green­peace-ship ‘Espe­r­an­za’ vio­la­ted new pilo­ta­ge regu­la­ti­ons on Spits­ber­gen

The Green­peace-ship ‘Espe­r­an­za’ which is cur­r­ent­ly sai­ling in the waters around Spits­ber­gen has repeated­ly vio­la­ted the new pilo­ta­ge regu­la­ti­ons, being step-by-step estab­lis­hed sin­ce July 2012.

The ‘Espe­r­an­za’ is pre­sent around Spits­ber­gen this sum­mer to call atten­ti­on to the impact of cli­ma­te chan­ge to the arc­tic and to pro­test against the expan­si­on of oil explo­ra­ti­on to the Bar­ents Sea. As a pro­mi­nent sup­por­ter for this cam­pai­gn amongst others the Bri­tish actress Emma Thomp­son was aboard.

In the end of July it was noti­ced that the ship vio­la­ted the new pilo­ta­ge regu­la­ti­ons on Spits­ber­gen for several times. For a round-trip which was accom­pa­nied by the actress Emma Thomp­son the­re­fo­re a pilot was taken aboard. In the Midd­le of August the cap­tain of the ‘Espe­r­an­za’ then again acted against the regu­la­ti­ons as he led the ship towards Lon­gye­ar­by­en without a pilot. As befo­re, the inci­dent was repor­ted to the Sys­sel­man­nen and this time the cap­tain had to pay a fine of 50.000 Kro­ner.

The Sys­sel­man­nen and the Nor­we­gi­an Kyst­verk reg­ret that it was just Green­peace who vio­la­ted a regu­la­ti­on which actual­ly is sup­por­ted by the orga­niz­a­ti­on. In the same spi­rit Green­peace expres­sed their reg­ret. Green­peace appre­cia­tes the estab­lish­ment of pilo­ta­ge regu­la­ti­ons on Spits­ber­gen and, envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion in mind, gene­ral­ly sup­ports regu­la­ti­ons that con­tri­bu­te to safe­ty in the mari­ti­me traf­fic. In the inci­dents in the end of July Green­peace was not awa­re of the fact that their ship was alrea­dy affec­ted by the new regu­la­ti­ons, espe­cial­ly as they had an own ice-navi­ga­tor aboard sup­por­ting the cap­tain. In the recent inci­dent in August the cap­tain had, as he said, wai­ted 1.5 hours for the pilot who was delay­ed. After that he deci­ded to sail towards Lon­gye­ar­by­en without a pilot.

Com­pul­so­ry pilo­ta­ge gets step-by-step estab­lis­hed on Spits­ber­gen sin­ce the 1st of July 2012 (see also Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news from July 2012). Cur­r­ent­ly, for the sea­son 2014, it affects ves­sels with a length of 70 meters or more and pas­sen­ger ves­sels with a length of 24 meters or more, except expe­di­ti­on crui­se ves­sels. In the sea­son 2015 the­re will no lon­ger be such excep­ti­ons and the regu­la­ti­ons will be the same as on the Nor­we­gi­an main­land.

The ‘Espe­r­an­za’,
cur­r­ent­ly sai­ling in the waters around Spits­ber­gen.
 
Copy­right:
Glen via Flickr,
CC BY 2.0

Esperanza

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten, Kyst­ver­ket

Gui­de breaks leg on Sar­ko­fa­gen

Not just in win­ter the gla­ciers and moun­tains sur­roun­ding Lon­gye­ar­by­en (some known for their crev­as­ses) pose dan­ger. Also in sum­mer it is very important to pay clo­se atten­ti­on; for examp­le, to the part­ly steep and rocky sub­sur­face tun­neled by melt water.

Just recent­ly when descen­ting (from) the Sar­ko­fa­gen (which is situa­ted at the west­side of the Lars­breen/Lars-Gla­cier), a 21 year old nor­we­gi­an gui­de bro­ke her leg. Becau­se the­re was no cell­p­ho­ne ser­vice avail­ab­le at the site of the acci­dent, mem­bers of the group had to hike back up the moun­tain to call for help by informing the Sys­sel­man. The hurt tour gui­de and her ent­i­re group of tou­rist from various nati­ons were then flown out to Lon­gye­ar­by­en, whe­re she got a cast at the local hos­pi­tal and was later trans­por­ted to Trom­sø.

Sakro­fa­gen (on the left hand side) view from Lars-Gla­cier

Larsbreen-mit-Sakrofagen

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Again explo­si­ves have been found

As last year explo­si­ves of he Word War II have been found arround Lon­gye­ar­by­en this time on the moun­tain Pla­tå­ber­get. Due to the fin­ding traf­fic in the area is ban­ned. The gre­na­de could been deac­ti­va­ted.

Pla­tåf­jel­let

Platafjellet

Source: Sys­sel­mann

Again polar bear caught in fishing net

In July, a polar bear was seen on the north coast of Spits­ber­gen with a plastic fishing net around its neck. The bear was found again later, it could then be anesthe­ti­zed and freed from the poten­ti­al­ly dead­ly debris.

Not much later, ano­t­her polar bear, again a fema­le, was found ent­an­gled in a fishing net. In this case, the bar had a small trans­mit­ter in its ear, pla­ced the­re by sci­en­tists to track migra­ti­on move­ments. The net was ent­an­gled around the trans­mit­ter.

The bear was found in Sorgfjord by vol­un­te­ers of the governor’s beach cleanup trip. Experts of the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te (NPI) were flown in by heli­co­p­ter to tran­qui­li­ze the bear, but just befo­re the NPI bio­lo­gist fired, the trans­mit­ter fell off tog­e­ther with the net and the polar bear was free of the its bur­den. The­re were no signs of inju­ry, and the bear seems to be fine.

Nor­we­gi­an fishe­ry is now facing cri­ti­cism for the amount of dan­ge­rous fishing nets and other debris found in the north Atlan­tic and shore­li­nes the­re. Fishing ves­sels are obli­ged to report loss of fishing gear at sea, and the fishe­ry aut­ho­ri­ty (Fis­ke­ri­di­rek­to­rat) has, sin­ce 1980, the respon­si­bi­li­ty to retrie­ve lost nets and other dan­ge­rous debris if pos­si­ble. Sin­ce 1980, more than 17,000 nets have been retrie­ved. The num­ber of fishing nets found on beaches in Spits­ber­gen and else­whe­re indi­ca­tes, howe­ver, that the num­bers of nets actu­al lost must be hig­her. Sin­ce 2008, dama­ged nets can be dischar­ged in Nor­we­gi­an ports free of char­ge.

This fema­le polar bear had got a trans­mit­ter in her ear by sci­en­tists, which got ent­an­gled in a hea­vy fishing net. © Chris­ti­an Nico­lai Bjør­ke.

polar bear with fishing net

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

SAR mis­si­on becau­se of pro­blems with satel­li­te com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on

Many pro­vi­ders of satel­li­te-based com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on ser­vices had tech­ni­cal pro­blems in late July for several days. This led, amongst others, to delays of my arc­tic blog on this web­site.

Other con­se­quen­ces were more serious. World­wi­de, ships were not able to down­load updated wea­ther infor­ma­ti­on. In Spits­ber­gen, a French sai­ling yacht was mis­sing for several days; the fami­lies of the crew had not recei­ved messages as agreed for 6 days. The Sys­sel­man­nen sent a pla­ne out to search for the yacht, which was found near Smee­ren­burg with ever­y­bo­dy on board in good con­di­ti­on.

The tech­ni­cal pro­blems were deep in the com­plex sys­tem, far out of reach of and unfo­re­see­ab­le for the indi­vi­du­al user. By now, the pro­blems seem to be sol­ved.

This com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on device is almost unde­st­ruc­ta­ble, but unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly not mobi­le. Pyra­mi­den, near the port.

communication

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen

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