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Yearly Archives: 2022 − News


Polar bears dis­tur­bed by tou­rists “around the clock”?

The first “nor­mal” – without major dis­tur­ban­ce by Covid19 – sum­mer sea­son in Spits­ber­gen has begun. Actual­ly, the win­ter has just star­ted to loo­sen its icy grip, the islands are still lar­ge­ly snow-cove­r­ed, many fjords still fro­zen and the­re is cur­r­ent­ly qui­te a lot of drift ice on the north and east coasts of Sval­bard.

But crui­se ships have star­ted trips of several days alrea­dy weeks ago, and the first ship-based day-trips out of Lon­gye­ar­by­en were offe­red as ear­ly as March. It is not that long ago that the win­ter sea­son (no ships) las­ted until around mid May, then the­re was a break of several weeks with litt­le acti­vi­ty during the snow­melt and then the sum­mer which invol­ved ship-based acti­vi­ty star­ted in June. But that is histo­ry, tour ope­ra­tors are star­ting ear­lier and ear­lier every year, some as ear­ly as March.

Now, around mid May, the­re are alrea­dy several dozen tou­rist ves­sels crui­sing Spitsbergen’s coas­tal waters, and the­re is alrea­dy trou­ble alt­hough most of them have just star­ted their sea­son. The­re are pho­tos cir­cu­la­ting on social media showing clo­se encoun­ters of polar bears on ice and tou­rists on ships, and the public dis­cus­sion is in full swing. The issue is alrea­dy cove­r­ed by NRK, Norway’s most important news plat­form. The head­line of the lin­ked-up arti­cle claims that Svalbard’s polar bears are dis­tur­bed by tou­rists “around the clock”.

Polar bear and ship

Polar bear on ice clo­se to a ship: who moved to visit the other part? Who was cha­sed, dis­tur­bed or even put at risk? May­be: noo­ne. (Archi­ve image, 2015).

The cur­rent dis­cus­sion is fuel­led by pho­tos like this one, showing polar bears and ships with tou­rists in clo­se distance. The­re have been situa­tions like that also in recent weeks in Spits­ber­gen, pho­tos are cir­cu­la­ting and the dis­cus­sion is going high. A reac­tion may also come from offi­cial side: the Sys­sel­mes­ter (gover­nor) has announ­ced to inves­ti­ga­te rele­vant cases.

The­re is no doubt: vio­la­ti­on of valid law, writ­ten and unwrit­ten, and unethi­cal beha­viour, are inac­cep­ta­ble and should be fol­lo­wed by strict­ly by the aut­ho­ri­ties, invol­ving fines whe­re­ver appro­pria­te.

Ille­gal beha­viour, unethi­cal action or accep­ta­ble beha­viour?

But the ques­ti­on is if it is real­ly as easy as that. It seems so: many public com­men­ta­tors inclu­ding jour­na­lists (NRK) take it as given that the polar bears are dis­tur­bed by tou­rists, even “around the clock”. But what does a pic­tu­re like the one abo­ve actual­ly show? The actu­al pic­tu­re that has fuel­led the cur­rent deba­te has, by the way, been remo­ved from social media posts by the pho­to­gra­pher. But it shows – from the per­spec­ti­ve of ano­t­her, not direct­ly invol­ved ship – a situa­ti­on very simi­lar to the one in the pic­tu­re abo­ve. So, is a situa­ti­on like this a pro­blem, may­be even legal­ly rele­vant, or not?

Over the years, I have been in situa­tions like this one a num­ber of times: a ship is par­ked at the ice edge or bet­ween ice floes. A polar bear gets a sen­se of the ship. Often being a curious and inqui­si­ti­ve ani­mals, chan­ces are that the bear comes clo­ser to inspect the object of his (or her) curio­si­ty. The bear may come clo­se enough to even touch the ship, snif­fing on the hull, while the peop­le on board are taking pic­tures, and then walks his (her) way again. (I high­light “her” becau­se both males and fema­les may show curious and inqui­si­ti­ve beha­viour).

It is, of cour­se, hard to say what actual­ly hap­pen­ed in any given case unless you have been the­re and seen it. Hard­ly anyo­ne who is con­tri­bu­ting to the cur­rent dis­cus­sion has been the­re. In this given case, I have coin­ci­dent­al­ly been clo­se enough to see a few bits and pie­ces (more on that below), but too far to see any details. Gene­ral­ly spea­king, a wide ran­ge of sce­n­a­ri­os is pos­si­ble: did the peop­le on board to some­thing to attract the bear actively? Did they even feed it? Both is pro­hi­bi­ted and com­ple­te­ly inac­cep­ta­ble, the­re is no room for dis­cus­sion about this. But unless the­re is any infor­ma­ti­on that points towards such beha­viour, the­re is no no need to assu­me that anything like that has actual­ly hap­pen­ed: the pre­sence of a ship, not moving, may well be enough to work up a polar bear’s curio­si­ty; after all, being curious is natu­ral beha­viour for a polar bear, and this is often rea­son enough for a polar bear to come clo­se and check out a ship (or hut or tent). This is not at all unusu­al and it is not con­demnab­le. Neit­her is it unethi­cal as long as the peop­le on board don’t take any inn­a­pro­pria­te action and as long as the­re is no dan­ger for man or beast (peop­le on board a ship a gene­ral­ly safe – which again means that also the bear is safe – unless the ship is so small that a bear can jump on board; some­thing that would, howe­ver, be a very unusu­al beha­viour. I have never heard of a polar bear jum­ping on a boat with peop­le on deck). Also from a legal view­point, the­re shouldn’t be anything to com­p­lain about: §30 of the Sval­bard envi­ron­men­tal act pro­hi­bits any action to “attract polar bears, to feed them, to fol­low them or to seek out a polar bear actively in such a way that may invol­ve a dis­tur­ban­ce of the polar bear or that may put humans or the polar bear at risk” (my own trans­la­ti­on). It should not hard to under­stand that none of the­se actions – or equi­va­lent ones – need to be invol­ved when a ship stands still and a polar bear deci­des out of curio­si­ty to come clo­se.

So, is ever­ything fine then?

As men­tio­ned abo­ve, of cour­se it is pos­si­ble to think of sce­n­a­ri­os that invol­ve unac­cep­ta­ble and even ille­gal beha­viour. But this appears unli­kely in the given recent case, whe­re the ship was par­ked in the ice. As men­tio­ned abo­ve: I was too far to see any details of what peop­le on board were doing, but clo­se enough to noti­ce that the boat in ques­ti­on was not moving for hours. It was not actively moving any­whe­re.

It is, by the way, not a rea­listic sce­n­a­rio for a boat to fol­low a polar bear in den­se ice; even at a rela­xed pace, a polar bear will be more than fast enough to just walk away unless it is a strong ship that can push or even break ice at speed (brea­king ice is, by the way, also gene­ral­ly for­bid­den).

Snow mobi­les on fjord ice may – given unethi­cal beha­viour of the dri­ver – be a dif­fe­rent thing, but for that rea­son moto­ri­sed traf­fic on fjord ice has been lar­ge­ly ban­ned in rele­vant fjords alrea­dy for years. Also fast motor boats in open water may easi­ly be used in ways that can cau­se gre­at dis­tur­ban­ce to polar bears. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, we have to assu­me that not ever­y­bo­dy has enough com­mon sen­se and rele­vant know­ledge to behave appro­pria­te­ly: stop­ping immedia­te­ly as soon as the bear shows the sligh­test sign of fee­ling une­a­sy about the pre­sence of boats and moving away care­ful­ly without delay when necessa­ry. In such a situa­ti­on, any fur­ther approach that would invol­ve dis­tur­ban­ce is for­bid­den by law as it as been in for­ce sin­ce 2001 (Sval­bard­mil­jøl­o­ven).

Back to the given case: the­re is not­hing to see or to read in pho­tos and infor­ma­ti­on publi­cal­ly avail­ab­le that points towards such beha­viour. NRK jour­na­list Rune N. Andre­as­sen claims that polar bears in Sval­bard are dis­tur­bed by tou­rists “around the clock”. His arti­cle (link abo­ve) does not pro­vi­de infor­ma­ti­on which would actual­ly indi­ca­te this. It appears that the head­line sup­ports the same public opi­ni­on that it may well be deri­ved from (rather than fac­tu­al infor­ma­ti­on): the com­bi­na­ti­on of tou­rists and polar bears is gene­ral­ly bad, and if both are clo­se tog­e­ther, it is just assu­med that this is not accep­ta­ble and pro­bab­ly ille­gal.

It is clear that pho­tos like the ones in ques­ti­on that are (were) cir­cu­la­ting on social media easi­ly give rise to a hea­ted public dis­cus­sion, espe­cial­ly when the view­er has never made a simi­lar expe­ri­ence him- or herself, obser­ving the actu­al event from the begin­ning to the end. May­be the aut­hors of arti­cles such as the abo­ve-men­tio­ned one on the NRK web­site have infor­ma­ti­on that I don’t have, but I doubt it. It would be good to have solid infor­ma­ti­on to base one’s opi­ni­on on when voi­cing such a strong state­ment such as a claim of polar bears being dis­tur­bed by tou­rists “around the clock” (or at all). Espe­cial­ly in nati­on­wi­de media, but also else­whe­re.

And espe­cial­ly when it comes at a time of a hea­ted poli­ti­cal deba­te: Nor­we­gi­an legis­la­ti­ve aut­ho­ri­ties are cur­r­ent­ly con­si­de­ring – amongst many other things – a legal requi­re­ment to keep a gene­ral mini­mum distance of 500 (five hund­red) metres from polar bears under any cir­cum­s­tan­ces.

Rather than let­ting a polar bear car­ry on with fol­lowing his (or her, for that sake) curio­si­ty even if it does not invol­ve any risk or dis­tur­ban­ce, this would mean that you would have to start moving your boat or even use deter­rents such as a fla­re gun. Both opti­ons are much more likely to dis­turb the ani­mal than just stay­ing whe­re you are as long as ever­y­bo­dy and ever­ything is safe. Some­thing that will gene­ral­ly be the case as long as peop­le are on the ship and the polar bear is on the ice. And this is what we are tal­king about. Not­hing else.

By the way, NRK aut­hor Andre­as­sen uses in his arti­cle (links abo­ve) a pho­to taken by a Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te field bio­lo­gist, taken “from a pro­per distance” accord­ing to the com­ment under the pho­to. I would esti­ma­te the distance bet­ween the pho­to­gra­pher and the two bears in this pho­to to be some­whe­re near 50 metres. On tenth of what Nor­we­gi­an legis­la­ti­ve aut­ho­ri­ties cur­r­ent­ly are con­si­de­ring as a legal­ly bin­ding mini­mum distance for polar bear encoun­ters.

Natio­nal day cele­bra­ti­ons without child­ren from Bar­ents­burg

The 17th of May is the Nor­we­gi­an natio­nal day and it is cele­bra­ted ever­y­whe­re in the coun­try with gre­at enthu­si­asm and a lot of public atten­ti­on and acti­vi­ties.

In Lon­gye­ar­by­en, this usual­ly inclu­des the tra­di­ti­on to invi­te repre­sen­ta­ti­ves from the Rus­si­an sett­le­ment of Bar­ents­burg, only 40 kilo­me­tres away from Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Repre­sen­ta­ti­ves from the mining com­pa­ny Trust Arc­ti­cu­gol and the con­su­la­te came as well as child­ren who met the local child­ren in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

17. May, Longyearbyen

Repre­sen­ta­ti­ves from Bar­ents­burg hol­ding speaches next to the Sys­sel­man­nen (now: Sys­sel­mes­ter) and the mayor of Lon­gye­ar­by­en on the 17th of May (here in 2019).

It had been made clear in advan­ce that offi­cial repre­sen­ta­ti­ves would not be wel­co­me this year, but the child­ren and “necessa­ry entou­ra­ge” were invi­ted. Their visit was, howe­ver, can­cel­led by Bar­ents­burg after “inter­nal dis­cus­sions”, accord­ing to Sval­bard­pos­ten As a con­se­quence, the­re was no mee­ting bet­ween the neigh­bours Bar­ents­burg and Lon­gye­ar­by­en in the con­text of the 17th of May 2022. The ori­gi­nal idea that the Rus­si­an and Ukrai­ni­an child­ren from Bar­ents­burg and the Nor­we­gi­an and inter­na­tio­nal ones from Lon­gye­ar­by­en would sing tog­e­ther had to be can­cel­led.

Local offi­cials hope that cir­cum­s­tan­ces allow a nor­mal rela­ti­on bet­ween the neigh­bou­ring towns again soon.

Fatal snow mobi­le acci­dent on Lon­gyear­breen

On Sunday (10 April) after­noon, an acci­dent hap­pen­ed on Lon­gyear­breen, a gla­cier a few kilo­me­tres south of Lon­gye­ar­by­en, during a snow mobi­le tour. One per­son was severely inju­red and later offi­cial­ly con­fir­med dead.

Offi­cial infor­ma­ti­on that is publi­cal­ly avail­ab­le so far is limi­ted to the fact that the casu­al­ty was a woman who was not a local resi­dent. The acci­dent hap­pen­ed during a pri­va­te snow mobi­le tour. So far, the­re is no infor­ma­ti­on avail­ab­le regar­ding the acci­dent cau­se.

Lon­gyear­breen is a com­mon snow mobi­le rou­te, and traf­fic the­re is fre­quent during the sea­son.

Snow mobile accident, Longyearbreen

Lower Lon­gyear­breen. This is the area whe­re the fatal snow mobi­le acci­dent hap­pen­ed yes­ter­day after­noon (pho­to taken in late March 2022).

P.S. in an ear­lier ver­si­on of this arti­cle it was writ­ten that the casu­al­ty was tra­vel­ling with a gui­ded group. This was not cor­rect. She was tra­vel­ling with a group with both local and non-local mem­bers.

Com­ple­ti­on: On Mon­day, the name of the casu­al­ty was released by the aut­ho­ri­ties after con­sul­ta­ti­on with her fami­ly. It was a Nor­we­gi­an woman from Trond­heim.

Sanc­tions will hit Bar­ents­burg

The inter­na­tio­nal sanc­tions intro­du­ced by many coun­tries as a reac­tion to the Rus­si­an war of aggres­si­on and exter­mi­na­ti­on against the Ukrai­ne will also hit the Rus­si­an north inclu­ding Bar­ents­burg.

Mur­mansk is Russia’s most important har­bour for coal export. Accord­ing to Bar­ents Obser­ver, years of signi­fi­cant growth resul­ted in export of more than 16 mil­li­on tons in 2019. Most of the coal was expor­ted to the EU – main­ly Ger­ma­ny – the UK and Isra­el. The growth led to plans for a new coal har­bour in Lav­na on the Kola pen­in­su­la. The cur­rent deve­lo­p­ment invol­ves major ques­ti­on­marks for this pro­ject.

Com­pa­red to the Mur­mansk exports, coal pro­duc­tion in and ship­ping from Bar­ents­burg is small, and irrele­vant to the world mar­ket. A bit more than 100,000 tons are pro­du­ced annu­al­ly in Bar­ents­burg, of which some­thing near 30,000 tons are used in the local coal power plant and the rest is for export. The­se exports are glo­bal­ly insi­gni­fi­cant, but nevertheless important for Bar­ents­burg in terms of eco­no­my and jobs. Of near 400 inha­bi­tants, around 150 are working in the coal mine, inclu­ding many Ukrai­ni­ans.

Coal mining, Barentsburg

Coal sto­rage and indus­try rela­ted to coal mining in Bar­ents­burg: inter­na­tio­nal sanc­tions will hit here as well.

Coal from Bar­ents­burg was main­ly sold to the UK in recent years, but it appears very unli­kely that the United King­dom will con­ti­nue this tra­de. This would severely dama­ge a major part of Barentsburg’s eco­no­mi­c­al foun­da­ti­on. Tou­rism has been deve­lo­ped in Bar­ents­burg in recent years, but this indus­tri­al sec­tor has lar­ge­ly col­lap­sed during the last two years becau­se of the pan­de­mic and now becau­se of the war and asso­cia­ted sanc­tions, lea­ving coal mining as the only indus­try in Bar­ents­burg.

Irri­ta­ting inter­view of the Rus­si­an con­sul in Bar­ents­burg

Last week – befo­re the pic­tures of the cru­el­ties in But­cha went around the world – the Rus­si­an con­sul in Bar­ents­burg irri­ta­ted the public with an inter­view with Nor­we­gi­an media (nettavisen.no) say­ing the images of the exten­si­ve dest­ruc­tions in Mariu­pol were in some cases sta­ged and in other cases fake. He cal­led wes­tern media “fake news”, espe­cial­ly refer­ring to Nor­we­gi­an media, while pre­ten­ding that Rus­si­an infor­ma­ti­on is true. The arti­cle by net­ta­vi­sen is Nor­we­gi­an, but near the end it inclu­des a video of the inter­view with the con­sul in Eng­lish.

The inha­bi­tants of Bar­ents­burg seem to avoid poli­ti­cal dis­cus­sions both amongst each other and with media, as NRK found out during a visit to the sett­le­ment.

Cha­ri­ty: a heart for the Ukrai­ne – hand­ma­de in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

As a cha­ri­ty, you can buy a pin in the shape a heart in the colours of the Ukrai­ne in the spitsbergen-svalbard.com web­shop. The pins are hand­ma­de in Lon­gye­ar­by­en and the ent­i­re returns are cha­ri­ty for vic­tims of the Rus­si­an war against the Ukrai­ne. Click here for more infor­ma­ti­on.

Cus­toms con­trols in Spits­ber­gen – becau­se of Rus­si­an war against the Ukrai­ne

So far, the­re have not been any cus­toms con­trols in Spits­ber­gen. The­re was just no need: due to the regu­la­ti­ons of the Spits­ber­gen Trea­ty, taxes are redu­ced. The­re is no value-added tax and no import taxes. Hence, the­re were no cus­toms con­trols.

This is about to chan­ge.

Longyearbyen airport, customs control

Lon­gye­ar­by­en air­port: no cus­toms con­trol, just a polar bear.
This will chan­ge soon (no, the polar bear is not about to disap­pe­ar).

The back­ground is the Rus­si­an war of aggres­si­on against the Ukrai­ne and the inter­na­tio­nal sanc­tions intro­du­ced in that con­text. Nor­way wants to make sure that Rus­sia does not use Spits­ber­gen as a logisti­cal loo­p­ho­le to import goods that are sanc­tion­ed. This could be pos­si­ble becau­se the­re is no con­trol of goods com­ing to Spits­ber­gen and the­re is ship traf­fic bet­ween the Rus­si­an sett­le­ment Bar­ents­burg and Rus­sia.

This is about to chan­ge. The Nor­we­gi­an government inst­ruc­ted the tax aut­ho­ri­ties to estab­lish a local pre­sence and main­tain con­trols as necessa­ry, accord­ing to NRK. Cus­toms con­trols are announ­ced to be in place alrea­dy in ear­ly May.

It is also announ­ced that this mea­su­re is not plan­ned to be per­ma­nent, but will be main­tai­ned as long as the­re is a need.

Polar bear warning sys­tem to be released

Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties have announ­ced a polar bear warning sys­tem in coope­ra­ti­on with the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te and Elon Musk’s satel­li­te-based com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on sys­tem Star­link.

As a first step, the who­le popu­la­ti­on of Spitsbergen’s polar bears will recei­ved micro­chips pro­vi­ded by Bill Gates. The­se chips inclu­de a micro-sen­der that sends signals that will be picked up by the Star­link satel­li­tes and for­war­ded to through ground sta­ti­ons to the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te in real time. As a result, the posi­ti­on of each and every sin­gle polar bear in Spits­ber­gen will be known at any time.

Polar bear with sender

Fema­le polar bear with tra­cker. The new genera­ti­on of sen­ders will be much smal­ler, which is also expec­ted to signi­fi­cant­ly impro­ve the well-being of the ani­mals.

The public, howe­ver, will not have access to the data set as such, but users can down­load an app that works in a simi­lar way as the coro­na-warn-apps, informing the user when a polar bear is in the vicini­ty. Fee-paying users of the pro ver­si­on can even use a func­tion to let the micro­chips instal­led in the ears of the bear blink bright­ly, to make it easier to see the approa­ching bear in the field – a fea­ture espe­cial­ly use­ful during the polar night. All ver­si­ons of the app will pro­du­ce a loud warning signal when a polar bear approa­ches wit­hin 5 metres.

In the future it is plan­ned to deve­lop the sys­tem fur­ther so that the beha­viour of polar bears can be con­trol­led through the app, for examp­le to make aggres­si­ve polar bears turn around and walk away peace­ful­ly.

The first ver­si­on of the app is cur­r­ent­ly under deve­lo­p­ment. The release of the final ver­si­on is sche­du­led for April 01, 2222. It will then not be avail­ab­le here in the Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com web­shop.

… bad times: rain and mel­ting snow in the win­ter

Well, “bad times” is clear­ly a very rela­ti­ve descrip­ti­on of life in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. We are having a good life. No bombs are fal­ling from the sky. Just rain. But, hey … rain! In March! And far too much, and a lar­ge pro­por­ti­on of the white beau­ty around is is just mel­ted and flown away during the last cou­p­le of days.

A strong low pres­su­re sys­tem fur­ther south in the north Atlan­tic has pum­ped a lot of warm air up north. This warm air incur­si­on brings wind, rain and mel­ting tem­pe­ra­tures. Far more of all of the­se than we actual­ly appre­cia­te.

Our litt­le world up here is mel­ting.

Longyearbyen: rain and melting snow in the winter

Lon­gye­ar­by­en: rain and meltwa­ter turn streets into litt­le lakes.

This was at least our impres­si­on for several days, whe­re­ver you tur­ned the eye. Water was fal­ling down from the sky, water tur­ned the snow grey, then dark and final­ly into water, crea­ting lakes on flat tun­dra are­as. Water bro­ke through the snow in rivers that should remain fro­zen for several mon­ths still.

Rub­ber boots were the best choice for a litt­le walk. It hap­pens quick­ly that you make one wrong step and your foot disap­pears in a deep hole of slush, a very cold and unplea­sant mix­tu­re of snow and meltwa­ter. On the other hand, it can be slip­pe­ry and smooth as glass just a step fur­ther. It is very popu­lar in Nor­way to use spikes. A gre­at inven­ti­on, they have cer­tain­ly saved many peop­le from bro­ken legs and what not.

Longyearbyen: rain and melting snow in the winter

Drai­na­ges had to be crea­ted in many pla­ces to pre­vent the rivers from floo­ding.
Nor­mal rou­ti­ne in May and June, but very uncom­mon in March.

For anything fur­ther away, any tours out into the arc­tic win­ter­won­der­land of Spits­ber­gen in the late win­ter: it is pret­ty much the only rea­son­ab­le opti­on to wait until Spits­ber­gen actual­ly is a win­ter­won­der­land again. It wasn’t for days on end, and it still isn’t at the time of wri­ting. Win­ter will bey­ond any doubt return. It is not gone, it is just taking a break. It will be col­der again, the rivers will free­ze again, lakes will turn into ice.

The ques­ti­on is if we get enough snow again to tour rea­son­ab­ly out the­re in the wild, fil­ling the many dark gaps whe­re the tun­dra is now free of snow. Let’s hope so, in the inte­rest of all who are com­ing up here with dreams of the arc­tic win­ter. The­re are many of them in March and April.

Spitsbergen: rain and melting snow in the winter

Snow mobi­le rou­tes have tur­ned into slus­hy snow swamps and lakes. If you dri­ve here, you risk get­ting stuck and dama­ging the vege­ta­ti­on under the slush.

Until the snow melt comes in May and finis­hes this win­tern for good.

Adventdalen: damaged tundra

It is, for good rea­son, not allo­wed to dri­ve on natu­ral ground unless it is fro­zen AND snow-cove­r­ed. The­re are tho­se who take a libe­ral approach to this rule at the end of the sea­son or during warm wea­ther spells, to put it mild­ly – alt­hough it is legal­ly bin­ding. The result loo­ks like this and it will take many years without fur­ther dis­tur­ban­ce to for the vege­ta­ti­on to reco­ver (Advent­da­len, next to the road. Pic­tu­re taken in june 2019).

The ques­ti­on will ine­vi­ta­b­ly come up: is this now wea­ther or cli­ma­te chan­ge? My short ans­wer: it has aspects of both. Wea­ther and cli­ma­te are hard to sepa­ra­te when it comes to any given meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal event. Both are just dif­fe­rent per­spec­ti­ves, dif­fe­rent time sca­les, for pret­ty much the same collec­tion of phe­no­me­na which altog­e­ther descri­be the atmo­s­phe­re, espe­cial­ly its lower lay­ers (that’s whe­re we usual­ly are). Such as tem­pe­ra­tu­re, pre­ci­pi­ta­ti­on, wind, air pres­su­re and humi­di­ty, to name some of the most important ones. Wea­ther is what you can see, feel and mea­su­re here and now. If you collect the same data over many years and turn them into aver­a­ges and other sta­tis­ti­cal values, then you take the cli­ma­te per­spec­ti­ve.

So, in this given case, it is hard to say if it would have hap­pend without cli­ma­te chan­ge. Sci­ence has made important advan­ces in recent years regar­ding such ques­ti­ons, so it would be inte­res­ting to hear an expert’s opi­ni­on or even see the results of sci­en­ti­fic model­ling of this week’s warm air incur­si­on in Spits­ber­gen.

All I can do here is try to come up with some more or less edu­ca­ted gues­sing. The ten­den­ci­es that cli­ma­te chan­ge crea­te for this part of the Arc­tic appe­ar to be pret­ty clear: more fre­quent wea­ther chan­ges, more strong wind, more pre­ci­pi­ta­ti­on, espe­cial­ly more rain in the win­ter.

The­re are tho­se who will say now that win­ter rain was not com­ple­te­ly unhe­ard of 100 years ago, and yes, that is true. But both the fre­quen­cy and the inten­si­ty of the­se events are incre­a­sing now, and cur­rent cli­ma­te chan­ge makes an important con­tri­bu­ti­on to this deve­lo­p­ment, or rather: the decisi­ve one.

So, chan­ces are that we would not have had this week’s warm air incur­si­on up here without cli­ma­te chan­ge, or at least that it would have been much less inten­se. We have had days of rain and tem­pe­ra­tures up to around 5 degrees cen­tig­ra­de – abo­ve free­zing! In March! I still can’t real­ly belie­ve it.

Also locals who have seen many Spits­ber­gen win­ters watch the wea­ther with asto­nis­ment and very litt­le amu­se­ment the­se days. And tho­se who came up exact­ly this week to enjoy the arc­tic win­ter­won­der­land – well, what can I say. My pity is with them.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Local tou­rism orga­ni­sa­ti­on asks mem­bers not to spend money in Rus­si­an sett­le­ments

Against the back­ground of Putin’s aggres­si­ve war in the Ukrai­ne, the local tou­rism inter-tra­de orga­ni­sa­ti­on Sval­bard Rei­se­livs­råd encou­ra­ged the mem­ber com­pa­nies not to spend money in the Rus­si­an sett­le­ments in Spits­ber­gen, Bar­ents­burg and Pyra­mi­den.

Barentsburg: brewery

Popu­lar in the past, now con­tro­ver­si­al: the bre­we­rey in Bar­ents­burg.

It was just a few days ago that Sval­bard Rei­se­livs­råd initi­al­ly made a dif­fe­rent decisi­on, arguing that boy­cotts and sanc­tions should be mea­su­res bet­ween governments and sta­tes, but not on a local level. The recent tur­naround came becau­se many poin­ted out that the inco­me gene­ra­ted in the Rus­si­an sett­le­ments bene­fits the owner of the sett­le­ments inclu­ding all tou­ris­tic offers and ser­vices: the Rus­si­an sta­te-owned Trust Ark­ti­ku­gol, or in other words: the Rus­si­an government, which now leads a bru­tal and ille­gal war in the Ukrai­ne.

Sval­bard Rei­se­livs­råd does not advi­se against tours to Bar­ents­burg and Pyra­mi­den, just from spen­ding money the­re. Tours espe­cial­ly to Bar­ents­burg used to be very popu­lar befo­re the recent lar­ge-sca­le Rus­si­an inva­si­on star­ted. The­se excur­si­ons usual­ly inclu­ded a local meal and an oppor­tu­ni­ty to buy sou­ve­nirs, inclu­ding local­ly made ones. Many tour ope­ra­tors will now stop this prac­ti­ce.

But not all: also the new decisi­on is con­tro­ver­si­al. The­re are tho­se tour ope­ra­tors who argue that such boy­cotts will hit the wrong peop­le, name­ly the local popu­la­ti­on – which inclu­des many Ukrai­ni­ans – rather than the regime in Moscow.

Sval­bard Rei­se­livs­råd makes only recom­men­da­ti­ons to the mem­ber com­pa­nies, but the­se recom­men­da­ti­ons are not bin­ding. Every tour ope­ra­tor will deci­de indi­vi­du­al­ly if they will con­ti­nue tours to the Rus­si­an sett­le­ments and if they con­ti­nue to buy and pay for local ser­vices.

Sun fes­ti­val in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

The sun fes­ti­val (sol­fest) is an important high­light in the annu­al calen­dar for many in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. It is tra­di­tio­nal­ly cele­bra­ted on 08 March, when the first direct rays reach Skjæ­rin­ga, the oldest part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en. On this day, a lar­ge crowd comes tog­e­ther at the stairs of the old hos­pi­tal (which does not exist any­mo­re) clo­se to the church.

Sun festival (Solfest), Longyearbyen

Sun fes­ti­val (Sol­fest) in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

This was also what hap­pen­ed in good tra­di­ti­on this time, alt­hough clouds on the sou­thern hori­zon threa­tened to spoil the event. Many locals and cer­tain­ly also a num­ber of tou­rists gathe­red to cele­bra­te the return of the light. The tra­di­tio­nal pro­gram­me inclu­des sin­ging, and when the sun was figh­t­ing to get through around 12.45 hours, she was lively chee­red to until she inde­ed final­ly came out, to ever­y­bo­dies gre­at delight!

Sun festival (Solfest), Longyearbyen

Sun fes­ti­val in Lon­gye­ar­by­en: “Here comes the sun” 🙂

Talk of luck – soon, the hori­zon disap­peared again behind a grey curtain of clouds.

The sun fes­ti­val is actual­ly nmo­re than “just” the 08th of March, it is a who­le week with a seri­es of various cul­tu­ral events. Some of them, such as the tra­di­tio­nal revye that always comes with the sol­fest, have to be post­po­ned by several weeks becau­se too many of the artists are cur­r­ent­ly figh­t­ing Covid-19 🙁

Local tou­rism inter-tra­de orga­ni­sa­ti­on against boy­cott of Rus­si­an sett­le­ments

While the Rus­si­an war is raging in the Ukrai­ne, many are asking in Lon­gye­ar­by­en how to deal with the Rus­si­an neigh­bours in Bar­ents­burg, whe­re part of the popu­la­ti­on is Ukrai­ni­an, and the lar­ge­ly aban­do­ned sett­le­ment of Pyra­mi­den.

The important win­ter tou­rism sea­son has star­ted, and the many tou­rism com­pa­nies in Lon­gye­ar­by­en were loo­king for­ward to the sea­son after two very dif­fi­cult coro­na years. Day trips to Bar­ents­burg have, so far, been amongst the most popu­lar offers; Pyra­mi­den is also an important desti­na­ti­on, alt­hough less fre­quent­ly visi­ted than Bar­ents­burg becau­se if it fur­ther away.

Now many in the indus­try are won­de­ring how to deal with the­se offers con­si­de­ring the Rus­si­an aggres­si­on, war and cri­mes in the Ukrai­ne and the inter­na­tio­nal reac­tions. The local tou­rism inter-tra­de orga­ni­sa­ti­on Sval­bard Rei­se­livs­råd has taken the ques­ti­on upn and dis­cus­sed it bet­ween their mem­bers and with aut­ho­ri­ties.

Barentsburg

Bar­ents­burg: usual­ly a popu­lar desti­na­ti­on, now con­tro­ver­si­al.

As a result, Sval­bard Rei­se­livs­råd does not recom­mend to boy­kott the Rus­si­an sett­le­ments. The orga­ni­sa­ti­on argues that sanc­tions should be mea­su­res on a govern­men­tal level but not on a local, pri­va­te sec­tor level, whe­re a boy­kott is more likely to hit peop­le local­ly rather than the Rus­si­an government and others who are respon­si­ble for the cur­rent war and crime in the Ukrai­ne. Sval­bard Rei­se­livs­råd indi­ca­tes that they unders­tood from Oslo aut­ho­ri­ties that a nor­mal rela­ti­ons­hip is desi­red on a local level, accord­ing to Sval­bard­pos­ten.

Some mem­bers had argued for a boy­kott of the Rus­si­an sett­le­ments, and cli­ents had can­cel­led their boo­kings. Accord­ing to Sval­bard Rei­se­livs­råd, it is up to every com­pa­ny not to offer trips to Bar­ents­burg or Pyra­mi­den, and it is any­way up to every tou­rist to book a tour to the­se sett­le­ments or not.

Black Febru­a­ry

Of cour­se it had been my inten­ti­on for a while alrea­dy to wri­te again here. But life in Farm­ham­na is main­ly hap­pe­ning off­line, and that is good.

And now the world isn’t any­mo­re what it used to be. The who­le popu­la­ti­on of Farm­ham­na (cur­r­ent­ly two peop­le) is deeply sho­cked about the news that reach us here. It would just feel com­ple­te­ly out of place to wri­te about the beau­ty of the natu­re here in the far north and about the simp­le, but good life in a remo­te trap­per sta­ti­on while the world is on fire.

It is about 40 kilo­me­tres from Farm­ham­na to Bar­ents­burg as the ful­mar flies. We can see the light of Bar­ents­burg reflec­ted by low clouds in cer­tain wea­ther con­di­ti­ons. It is not far at all. Bar­ents­burg is a Rus­si­an sett­le­ment, but with many Ukrai­ni­ans amongst its 300-400 inha­bi­tants. So far, Rus­si­ans and Ukrai­ni­ans were living the­re tog­e­ther peace­ful­ly, also after the Rus­si­an occup­a­ti­on of the Krim pen­in­su­la and the con­flict in the eas­tern Ukrai­ne sin­ce then. How do peop­le feel the­re now? How are they, with the know­ledge about the situa­ti­on in their respec­ti­ve home coun­tries? Impos­si­ble to ima­gi­ne for me. Sys­sel­mes­ter Lars Fau­se is in regu­lar con­ta­ct with Bar­ents­burg, fol­lowing nor­mal rou­ti­nes, and says that it is a “good and nor­mal dia­lo­gue”, without going into fur­ther detail.

So I finish my con­tri­bu­ti­ons here for Febru­a­ry with the fol­lowing pic­tu­re, which is cur­r­ent­ly often shared in social media to express the hor­ror about the situa­ti­on, pro­test against the Rus­si­an inva­si­on and war in the Ukrai­ne and com­ple­te digust for tho­se who are respon­si­ble for it.

Ukraine

The Ukrai­ne

Data cable bet­ween Spits­ber­gen and main­land Nor­way dama­ged by human action

The dama­ge that occur­red to one of the two com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on cables that con­nect Spits­ber­gen to north Nor­way a few weeks ago attrac­ted a lot of public atten­ti­on (click here for more infor­ma­ti­on). The case is by no means sett­led, but the owner of the cable, Space Nor­way, and the respon­si­ble poli­ce agen­cy of Troms in north Nor­way have been in the area and were able to gather first data with an under­wa­ter robot.

Accord­ing to NRK, the poli­ce told Nor­we­gi­an media that human action appears to be likely as the cau­se for the dama­ge. Natu­ral influ­en­ces seem less likely now.

Telekommunikation Spitzbergen

Making a pho­ne call in the sett­le­ments of Spits­ber­gen is done in a more modern fashion than pic­tu­red here. And it’s not just about pho­ne calls.
But almost ever­ything depends on the deep sea data cables to the main­land.

Not­hing was reve­a­led about the natu­re of the dama­ge or even pos­si­ble respon­si­ble peop­le or groups; it was only said that the­re are so far no suspects. It is also not yet publi­cal­ly know in which depth the dama­ge occur­red. The cable sec­tion in ques­ti­on is about 100 km long and leads from the rela­tively shal­low shelf on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen to deep sea are­as.

It is actual­ly not the 2 cm strong cable its­elf that is dama­ged but its power sup­ply.

Repair works are sche­du­led later this year, in spring and/or sum­mer.

Nor­way opens up

Nor­way dis­con­ti­nues most coro­na restric­tions as of today (1st of Febru­a­ry) 2300 hrs local time, accord­ing to a govern­men­tal press release.

This inclu­des signi­fi­cant ease­ments wit­hin edu­ca­ti­on, cul­tu­re and gas­tro­no­my, but also for tra­vel­lers: inter­na­tio­nal tra­vel­lers do not need to get tes­ted at the bor­der direct­ly after arri­val any­mo­re. Ful­ly vac­ci­na­ted tra­vel­lers with an accep­ted vac­ci­na­ti­on cer­ti­fi­ca­te and reco­ve­r­ed peop­le with appro­pria­te docu­men­ta­ti­on may enter without test; tho­se who do not have this sta­tus need a test taken befo­re depar­tu­re. Ever­y­bo­dy inclu­ding Nor­we­gi­an citi­zens still need to regis­ter online befo­re arri­val.

corona testing station Oslo Gardermoen

coro­na tes­ting sta­ti­on at Oslo air­port Gar­der­mo­en: here seen calm, but often very busy.
Soon it will most­ly be reli­ab­ly calm here.
(addi­tio­nal deco­ra­ti­on digi­tal­ly added by the aut­hor).

For peop­le tra­vel­ling to Sval­bard, the requi­re­ment to get tes­ted in Nor­way wit­hin 24 hours befo­re depar­tu­re is dis­con­ti­nued for regis­tered lco­al inha­bi­tants as well as ful­ly vac­ci­na­ted tra­vel­lers and tho­se who have reco­ve­r­ed from a recent Covid-19 infec­tion (accep­ted docu­men­ta­ti­on nee­ded in any case). The requi­re­ment to car­ry out a self test wit­hin 24 hours after arri­val is still in for­ce.

Ever­y­bo­dy is still asked to keep a distance of one meter or to wear a mask whe­re­ver it is not pos­si­ble to keep this distance.

The Nor­we­gi­an government plans to dis­con­ti­nue all coro­na restric­tions until 17 Febru­a­ry unless new and cur­r­ent­ly unfo­re­se­en deve­lo­p­ments requi­re a new chan­ge of plans.

The sta­te of affairs

The new is alrea­dy near­ly 4 weeks old. Not too much has hap­pen­ed in Spits­ber­gen that has real­ly shaken the world, but nevertheless it is time to have a look at the sta­te of affairs.

C & O in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

C as in coro­na, O as in Omi­kron – I guess the­re is hard­ly anyo­ne who can still hear it without get­ting tur­ned off. And who will be sur­pri­sed that C & O are now well estab­lis­hed also local­ly in Lon­gye­ar­by­en? Pro­bab­ly nobo­dy. The num­bers of posi­ti­ve tests is well up in two-digit num­bers – wit­hin a popu­la­ti­on some­whe­re near 2500. And it is defi­ni­te­ly not just about tra­vel­lers who just came up with „imports­mit­te“ (impor­ted infec­tion). The virus is cir­cu­la­ting local­ly, inclu­ding the school.

Corona virus, Longyearbyen

🙁

Near­ly ever­y­bo­dy tra­vel­ling up to Sval­bard is obli­ged to take a nega­ti­ve test done in Nor­way wit­hin 24 hours befo­re depar­tu­re (and ano­t­her one after arri­val), some­thing that locals – popu­la­ti­on, eco­no­my, poli­ti­ci­ans – are not amu­sed about at all, also con­si­de­ring that this is not the case else­whe­re in Nor­way. And the­re are tho­se who ask why Sval­bard gets a dif­fe­rent tre­at­ment than the rest of the coun­try. The tou­rism indus­try is get­ting more and more ner­vous about the important win­ter sea­son, which has alrea­dy been lar­ge­ly lost in to con­se­cu­ti­ve years.

No sabo­ta­ge on the cables

No, this is not about the deep sea cable that con­nects Sval­bard to the rest of the world which was dama­ged a few weeks ago. It is still uncer­tain what has actual­ly hap­pen­ed to it and it will take some time until the dama­ge is loca­ted, let alo­ne repai­red. But the func­tio­n­a­li­ty has at least been res­to­red, so the­re is red­un­dan­cy in the com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on again and the who­le pres­su­re isn’t just res­ting on the second cable alo­ne any­mo­re.

In this con­text, the initi­al­ly mys­te­rious case of a dama­ged cable on the sea floor off north Nor­way was also dis­cus­sed. Sabo­ta­ge was at least not exclu­ded in eit­her of the­se cases, and one had to exer­cise a bit of self disci­pli­ne in order not to think of Norway’s big and cur­r­ent­ly rather ill-tem­pe­red neigh­bour in the east (no, not Swe­den). But at least for the case near the islands of Ves­terå­len in north Nor­way, sabo­ta­ge seems rather unli­kely now, as NRK reports: the still „mis­sing“ bit of the cable was „found“ – inde­ed it tur­ned out that the part of the cable that was torn off and later found in a distance of 11 kilo­me­tres from the ori­gi­nal loca­ti­on, was actual­ly com­ple­te, so not­hing was mis­sing any­mo­re. This was estab­lis­hed after the length of the cable could be mea­su­red more pre­cise­ly.

An inves­ti­ga­ti­on of the ship traf­fic in the area at the time in ques­ti­on has resul­ted in infor­ma­ti­on that points to a fishing ves­sel as the cau­se for the cable clut­ter. This had initi­al­ly been con­si­de­red unli­kely as it was belie­ved that such an inci­dence could not have hap­pen­ed unno­ti­ced and that the crew would have repor­ted it, but this has appar­ent­ly not been the case. As unplea­sant as the who­le affair still is for ever­y­bo­dy invol­ved inclu­ding tho­se who don’t get the data they need for their sci­en­ti­fic work, at least this is one poten­ti­al strain off from inter­na­tio­nal rela­ti­ons which are dif­fi­cult enough as they are.

And as men­tio­ned abo­ve, it remains to be seen if the­re is an equal­ly harm­less (at least from a point of inter­na­tio­nal poli­tics) explana­ti­on for the case of the Sval­bard cable.

Polar Per­ma­cul­tu­re: neit­her per­ma nor cul­tu­re

The busi­ness was neit­her perma(nent) nor was the­re suf­fi­ci­ent cul­tu­re in it, at least loo­king at the for­mal side of affairs: Polar per­ma­cul­tu­re was an eco-friend­ly hor­ti­cul­tu­re busi­ness gro­wing for examp­le kit­chen herbs in a dome in Nyby­en. Local and envi­ron­ment­al­ly friend­ly food pro­duc­tion was and still is an idea that many will sym­pa­thise with (inclu­ding this aut­hor). But in this case, the attempt, which see­med to work suc­cess­ful­ly for a cou­p­le of years, came to a rather sad end as the com­pa­ny went bankrupt during the coro­na cri­sis in spi­te of public aid. So far so under­stand­a­ble. But the pro­blem is that the whe­rea­bouts of sub­stan­ti­al amounts of money, from public and pri­va­te sources, could not be traced – and 2 mil­li­on Nor­we­gi­an kro­ner (about 200,000 Euro) are not small chan­ge, obvious­ly. It tur­ned out that „chao­tic“ seems to be a rather mild descrip­ti­on of the accoun­ting wit­hin Polar Per­ma­cul­tu­re. The Sys­sel­mes­ter is inves­ti­ga­ting the case accord­ing to Sval­bard­pos­ten, con­si­de­ring to open a legal case against the for­mer com­pa­ny.

And other than that?

That’s it for the moment.

Data con­nec­tion cable to main­land dama­ged

Many, many years ago, ships were nee­ded to send messages from Spits­ber­gen to the world and vice ver­sa. The wire­less tele­graph sta­ti­on built in 1911 at Fin­nes­et made com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on con­si­der­ab­ly more effi­ci­ent. Fur­ther techi­cal upgrades fol­lo­wed throughout the 20th cen­tu­ry.

But this kind of con­nec­tion, alt­hough per­fect­ly fine for the ever­y­day needs of mining com­pa­nies, expe­di­ti­ons and fishing and other ships, was far from good enough for the traf­fic that aro­se when Sval­Sat was estab­lis­hed in 1997: a sta­ti­on with a collec­tion of satel­li­te anten­nas to send data to satel­li­tes and recei­ve data tra­ve­ling the oppo­si­te way. The num­ber of anten­nas at Sval­Sat has incre­a­sed ever sin­ce and is now amoun­ting to some­thing near 100.

SvalSat

Satel­li­te anten­nas of Sval­Sat on Pla­tå­berg near Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

As cus­to­mers like NASA and ESA don’t like to wait until a data DVD or USB stick is ship­ped out to them, a fib­re cable was laid to the main­land in 2004 to trans­port lar­ge volu­mes of data in real time. It is actual­ly a set of two indi­pen­dent cables to crea­te red­un­dan­cy and thus a robust struc­tu­re. Sin­ce the­se cables exist, Lon­gye­ar­by­en has super-fast inter­net (alt­hough the user expe­ri­ence of more mer­tals may occa­sio­nal­ly be dif­fe­rent).

The two cables on the sea floor are a very important and sen­si­ti­ve bit of infra­st­ruc­tu­re. Almost all com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on of all of Spitsbergen’s sett­le­ments depends on them, as well as the data traf­fic that is going through Sval­Sat: con­trol­ling satel­li­tes in polar orbits and recei­ving their data when they are nee­ded. Navi­ga­ti­on, com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on, sci­ence, wea­ther – the who­le lot, ever­ything that satel­li­tes do the­se days. Obvious­ly an important bit of glo­bal infra­st­ruc­tu­re.

Last Fri­day, one of the cables was dama­ged in the ear­ly morning, as the ope­ra­ting com­pa­ny Space Nor­way noti­fied in a press release. A sea-going cable lay­ing ves­sel is nee­ded to repair the dama­ge, and it will take time until this is done.

The second cable is enough to cater for all data traf­fic and the­re are no restric­tions as long as it is ope­ra­ti­ve. But the­re is no fur­ther red­un­dance, and a loss of the second cable would have huge con­se­quen­ces. A cri­sis manage­ment group had a first mee­ting in Lon­gye­ar­by­en to dis­cuss sce­n­a­ri­os “in case”. Offi­cials empha­sise, howe­ver, that the­re is no rea­son to belie­ve that a loss of the second cable is likely to hap­pen.

The dama­ge seems to have occu­red at a distance bet­ween 120-130 km from Lon­gye­ar­by­en, in an area whe­re depth is fal­ling from the shal­lower shelf to the deep sea. The con­ti­nen­tal shelf is an area whe­re huge mass move­ments natu­ral­ly occur from time to time, so the dama­ge may have been cau­sed by a natu­ral event. But no fur­ther details are known so far, and aut­ho­ri­ties do not exclu­de cri­mi­nal­ly rele­vant action of third par­ties, accord­ing to NRK.

The case reminds of the mys­te­rious loss of a cable con­nec­tion of rese­arch instal­la­ti­ons on the sea floor off north Nor­way. Last year, the “Lofo­ten-Ves­terå­len Mee­res­ob­ser­va­to­ri­um”, or short: “LoVe” sud­den­ly tur­ned black. LoVe is a civi­li­an rese­arch faci­li­ty desi­gned to collect a rather com­pre­hen­si­ve set of high-reso­lu­ti­on data of various sorts, inclu­ding acoustic data. LoVe is, in other words, capa­ble of record­ing sub­ma­ri­ne traf­fic at least to some degree. It tur­ned out that no less than 4 kilo­me­tres of cable were remo­ved. 3 out of the­se 4 km of cable were later found in a distance of a good 10 km from the ori­gi­nal site. A natu­ral cau­se for the event can, as of now, not be exclu­ded, alt­hough all opti­ons con­si­de­red (inclu­ding cur­r­ents, giant squid or wha­les) sound more or less bizar­re. Bot­tom traw­ling can not be ruled out eit­her, but it is hard to ima­gi­ne that this would have hap­pen­ed unno­ti­ced.

Submarine, Tromsø

The­re is a lot of sub­ma­ri­ne traf­fic off Nor­way. Not all of them ope­ra­te as much in public as this sub­ma­ri­ne that is here seen being towed in the har­bour of Trom­sø.

In this con­text, remarks have been made that Rus­sia is tech­ni­cal­ly capa­ble of ope­ra­ti­ons on the sea floor at rele­vant depths. Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties inclu­ding the secret ser­vice are invol­ved in the inves­ti­ga­ti­ons, as was repor­ted by NRK and inter­na­tio­nal media such as Ger­man SPIE­GEL Online.

The­se cases shed a dif­fe­rent kind of light on the desi­re of the Nor­we­gi­an mili­ta­ry to con­trol high-reso­lu­ti­on map­ping of the Nor­we­gi­an sea floor inclu­ding Sval­bard and Jan May­en.

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News-Listing live generated at 2022/September/29 at 08:31:22 Uhr (GMT+1)
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