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Daily Archives: 28. December 2018 − News & Stories

Fishing ves­sel in mari­ti­me distress in Hin­lo­pen Strait

A fishing ves­sel got into serious trou­ble in Hin­lo­pen Strait in nor­t­hern Sval­bard, as the SAR cen­tral in north Nor­way infor­med. The Nor­we­gi­an ship “North­gui­der” had rai­sed the alarm at 1322 hours (local time) today (Fri­day), whereu­pon the SAR machi­nery in Lon­gye­ar­by­en and north Nor­way was put into ope­ra­ti­on. Soon, both res­cue heli­c­op­ters went up in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, the first one arri­ved on sce­ne at about 1515 hours, less than 2 hours after the alarm bell had rung in the SAR cen­tral in north Nor­way. At the same time, an Ori­on air­craft took off from Andøya in Nor­way. Depen­ding on the exact type, the­se air­craft may be used in SAR mis­si­ons for exam­p­le to search for miss­ing ves­sels or per­sons or to sur­vey poten­ti­al oil spills.

SAR helicopter Sysselmannen

SAR heli­c­op­ter of the Sys­sel­man­nen, here seen during an exer­cise.

But the good news is that all per­sons seem to be well. The crew of 14 have dres­sed up in sur­vi­val suits and gone to the bow area to be picked up by the res­cue heli­c­op­ters. Accor­ding to the ship owner, all per­sons are sup­po­sed to be well, at least con­side­ring the cir­cum­s­tances. Nobo­dy is inju­red or has been in cold water.

The North­gui­der appears to have hit the ground on the coast of Nord­aus­t­land south of Murch­ison­fjord. She is now sit­ting on the ground and lis­ting with 20 degrees but the posi­ti­on seems to be sta­ble so far. The wea­ther – about 18 degrees cen­ti­gra­de below free­zing, dark­ness and strong wind (Beau­fort 6) – makes the res­cue ope­ra­ti­ons chal­len­ging, but the­re is no reason to belie­ve that the Nor­we­gi­an SAR pro­fes­sio­nals are not able to get all crew mem­bers off soon.

Kalkstranda, Hinlopen Strait

Kalkst­ran­da in Hin­lo­pen Strait, south of Murch­ison­fjord: the North­gui­der is sup­po­sed to have run aground some­whe­re here. Con­di­ti­ons the­re are quite dif­fe­rent from the pho­to now, with dark­ness, cold and wind.

The coast guard ship KV Barents­hav has set cour­se for Hin­lo­pen Strait, but is not expec­ted to arri­ve the­re befo­re Satur­day. Polar­sys­sel, the Sysselmannen’s ser­vice ship, is not available in Spits­ber­gen in win­ter­ti­me.

Update: the SAR cen­tral North Nor­way informs that all 14 per­sons were taken into the heli­c­op­ters and are by now taken care of in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The North­gui­der is still sit­ting on the ground, taking in water.

With new Spits­ber­gen pan­ora­mas into the new year

In 2018, again I had ple­nty of oppor­tu­ni­ties to shoot arc­tic pan­ora­mas, making the­se inte­res­t­ing and beau­tiful (well in some cases, it is inte­res­t­ing or beau­tiful) easi­ly acces­si­ble for ever­y­bo­dy. Phy­si­cal­ly, most of them are pret­ty much inac­ces­si­ble for most peo­p­le. A pan­ora­ma pho­to does not phy­si­cal­ly take you to, say, a moun­tain top on Prins Karls For­land, but it is the next best thing – it gives you the fee­ling to be in the midd­le of the land­scape, you can just turn around and enjoy the full view of the arc­tic land­scape.

Over 5 years now, the by far lar­gest digi­tal muse­um of Spits­ber­gen (Sval­bard) has thus come into exis­tance. And it keeps gro­wing. It takes quite some time and effort to turn the 18 RAW files (35, in some cases) into one pan­ora­ma and to make that part of a dedi­ca­ted litt­le web­site or even to turn many pan­ora­mas into one vir­tu­al tour, such as the school / kin­der­gar­ten in Pyra­mi­den. In many cases it has taken years for mate­ri­al to pro­gress on the list to the point whe­re it actual­ly appears on the web­site.

Neue Spitsbergen Panorama: Persiskammen, Prins Karls Forland - just one out of many new Spitsbergen panoramas

New Spits­ber­gen pan­ora­mas: the round view from Per­sis­kam­men, in the sou­thern part of Prins Karls For­land, is just one out of many
(this here is just a screen­shot wit­hout pan­ora­ma func­tion).

Here is a choice of new Spits­ber­gen pan­ora­mas that we have made during the last cou­ple of months and weeks – a litt­le Christ­mas-/New Years’s pre­sent for the Spits­ber­gen com­mu­ni­ty:

  • Pyra­mi­den: School / Kin­der­gar­ten. In Octo­ber the who­le coll­ec­tion of Pyra­mi­den pan­ora­mas had moved to a dedi­ca­ted litt­le map so you can find your way around as you take a litt­le walk through the old ghost town, pos­si­bly visi­ting a buil­ding here and the­re. And we added some new pan­ora­mas, inclu­ding the school / kin­der­gar­ten, which is our lar­gest sin­gle vir­tu­al tour so far – the buil­ding has 3 flo­ors! Other new ones include the old mines.
  • Barents­burg: also here we did not just add new mate­ri­al, but we sor­ted the panos on a dedi­ca­ted map, so you know whe­re you are. New pan­ora­mas include the bre­wery, Lenin, the cha­pel, …
  • And while we were at it, of cour­se also Ny-Åle­sund had to get its own map to make the who­le thing pro­per. And also here we took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to add some new pan­ora­mas, inclu­ding Amund­sen, the Kongsfjord­bu­tik­ken, the muse­um, the Green House, the air­ship­mast, …
  • Let’s get out of the sett­le­ments and into the wil­der­ness. Mur­ray­pyn­ten is a point on Prins Karls For­land with some fine views.
  • Ano­ther one on Prins Karls For­land. Nesun­gen is on the outer side of the island, which is expo­sed and rare­ly visi­ted.
  • Last but defi­ni­te­ly not least from Prins Karls For­land. The view on Per­sis­kam­men, this lone­so­me moun­tain in the south of the island, is just stun­ning!
  • Elfen­bein­breen in Agardhda­len, not far from the east coast.
  • Buch­holz­buk­ta is not far from Heley­sund, as far east on the main island of Spits­ber­gen as you will get.
  • Pol­hem in Mos­sel­buk­ta was Nordenskiöld’s base during his 1872-73 win­tering.
  • Fox­fon­na is a litt­le ice cap clo­se to mine 7. Ama­zing win­ter views in cen­tral Nor­dens­ki­öld Land.
  • Rijps­burg on Bohem­an­flya is not just the site whe­re the first com­mer­cial coal mining took place in Spits­ber­gen. It is also a beau­tiful place.
  • Final­ly back again to civi­li­sa­ti­on. The taub­a­ne­sen­tra­le (coal cable­way cent­re) is one of Longyearbyen’s eye cat­chers. Nor­mal­ly it is clo­sed, but here and now … – wel­co­me in!
  • One of Spitsbergen’s most dif­fi­cult-to-get-to places is the famous Glo­bal Seed Vault). Once again: wel­co­me in!

Enjoy – and hap­py new year!


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