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Daily Archives: 15. June 2022 − News & Stories


MS Vir­go hit ground in Fuglefjord

it, in princip­le, is a night­ma­re sce­n­a­rio: a crui­se ship hits a rock and the hull and a fuel tank are dama­ged.

We don’t know yet what exact­ly hap­pen­ed yes­ter­day morning in Fuglefjord in nor­thwes­tern Spits­ber­gen and what the con­se­quen­ces will be. What we know is that the litt­le Swe­dish expe­di­ti­on crui­se ship MS Vir­go touched the bot­tom yes­ter­day (Tues­day, 14 June) near 10 a.m. The acci­dent hap­pen­ed pro­bab­ly on the pas­sa­ge into Fuglefjord from the north, bet­ween a group of small islets, sker­ries and rocks known as Fug­le­hol­ma­ne.

The pas­sa­ge is rou­ti­nely taken by small ships at least during clear con­di­ti­ons (wea­ther, ice) and the rou­te requi­res care­ful navi­ga­ti­on, but is usual­ly no pro­blem. The waters are well char­ted and the­re are several pos­si­ble rou­tes, depen­ding on ship size. Fuglefjord its­elf is lar­ge and deep (except a 7.5 meter shal­low in the ent­ran­ce, but even this is more than deep enough for a rela­tively small ves­sel shuch as the Vir­go). Only the inner­most part of the fjord, near the gla­cier, is unchar­ted.

Fugleholmane, Fuglefjord

Pas­sa­ge bet­ween the rocks and islets of Fug­le­hol­ma­ne while ent­e­ring Fuglefjord from the north.

No fur­ther details about yesterday’s acci­dent have been released by the Sys­sel­mes­ter at the time of wri­ting.

But it is known that the hull was dama­ged and the same goes for a fuel tank, invol­ving the risk of a fuel leaka­ge. MS Polar­sys­sel, the ser­vice ship of the Sys­sel­mes­ter (gover­nor), was on site wit­hin a few hours. Polar­sys­sel is equi­ped with fuel lea­king figh­t­ing equip­ment and works to pre­vent spills were star­ted up immedia­te­ly.

Nobo­dy was hurt. The­re were 13 pas­sen­gers and a crew of seven on board.

As all ships in most parts of Svalbard’s waters, MS Vir­go has mari­ne die­sel on board. Hea­vy and cru­de oil are not per­mit­ted on board any ship in the natio­nal parks and natu­re reser­ves, which altog­e­ther com­pri­se the lar­gest part of the archi­pe­la­go. Hea­vy, long-las­ting oil pol­lu­ti­on is gene­ral­ly cau­sed by cru­de or hea­vy oil, while mari­ne die­sel dis­sol­ves rela­tively quick­ly even in cold waters. The risk of a major, long-las­ting pol­lu­ti­on event is this low. A less hea­vy pol­lu­ti­on, las­ting for days or even weeks, can, howe­ver, not exclu­ded with the infor­ma­ti­on avail­ab­le and might be eco­lo­gi­cal­ly dis­astrous, con­si­de­ring the­re are several lar­ge bird colo­nies main­ly with litt­le auks on some of the neigh­bou­ring islands such as Fugle­son­gen and Ind­re and Ytre Nor­skøya.

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News-Listing live generated at 2022/September/27 at 03:47:45 Uhr (GMT+1)
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