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Yearly Archives: 2023 − News & Stories


Ande­nes

Ande­nes – the metro­po­lis of the Ves­terå­len islands. Pul­sa­ting life on the edge of the oce­an.

Well, almost. A walk through Ande­nes on a rai­ny Satur­day mor­ning may not be the grea­test adre­na­lin kick of your life. It is a calm place, on a day like this.

But of cour­se, the­re are things to see and to do. Final­ly, I made it into the love­ly litt­le Polar­mu­se­um, with relics of Spits­ber­gen legends such as Hil­mar Nøis. Gre­at!

Also the rest of the day remain­ed grey and wet, so we deci­ded to make some miles and get south towards Lofo­ten.

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

From Hamn i Sen­ja to Ande­nes

Usual­ly we pre­fer the pas­sa­ge on the insi­de of the island of Sen­ja becau­se the wea­ther and sea con­di­ti­ons out­side tend to be pret­ty rough. But on a good day like this, the outer pas­sa­ge allows one to visit love­ly litt­le har­bours such as Hamn i Sen­ja, loca­ted on a cou­ple of sker­ries just off the coast of Sen­ja.

Later, again the­re was no wind to put up the sails, but the good thing was that this mean flat seas, so we went out to the edge of the con­ti­nen­tal shelf near Ande­nes, the famous sperm wha­le place. And we were lucky!

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

Finn­kro­ken and Trom­sø

Finn­kro­ken has been an important place for trade and traf­fic for thou­sands of years. Today, it is taken care of with love by enthu­si­asts for local histo­ry, and a visit the­re feels a litt­le bit like a trip in a time cap­su­le. Jo Mar­tin and his peo­p­le are ama­zing, they tell their sto­ries with so much enthu­si­asm.

Later, we visi­ted the modern cent­re of the who­le area: Trom­sø. In all its urban sple­ndour.

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

Ham­nes and Ull­sfjor­den

Last night we arri­ved at Ham­nes on the island of Utøya and went along­side the­re for the night and this mor­ning. Ham­nes is an old tra­ding place, still used as such, with parts being nice­ly refur­bis­hed as kind of a muse­um. Addi­tio­nal­ly, the island has beau­tiful hiking oppor­tu­ni­ties. Becau­se of the snow, this is not neces­s­a­ri­ly the best time of year for hiking, but still, it is gre­at to be out the­re, work a bit in the snow and enjoy stun­ning views. The colours have shifted from yesterday’s bright sun­ny blue to all pos­si­ble and impos­si­ble shades of grey, which is by no means less attrac­ti­ve or impres­si­ve.

We spent the after­noon roun­ding the impres­si­ve Lyn­gen Alps. Later we set sails, but the spor­ti­ve aspect dis­ap­peared a bit in the back­ground becau­se of a sud­den lack of wind … but at the same time, the sun came out again and we enjoy­ed life on deck 🙂

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

Berg­s­fjord and Segl­vi­ka

The litt­le har­bour of Berg­s­fjord is beau­tiful­ly loca­ted with snow-cover­ed moun­ta­ins ever­y­whe­re around. Very impres­si­ve and very scenic, espe­ci­al­ly on a day like this – still, the wea­ther couldn’t be bet­ter, the snow is glit­te­ring in bright sun­light.

After a few hours sai­ling we rea­ched Segl­vi­ka on the east side of Kvæn­an­gen. An ener­ge­tic frac­tion of the group clim­bed up over snow-cover­ed rocky hills to reach a litt­le moun­tain top, which yiel­ded a real­ly stun­ning view over the sea and moun­ta­ins, all in glo­rious suns­hi­ne.

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

Tra­vel blog: from Alta to Bodø with SV Mean­der

From Alta to Bodø is the rou­te for the who­le trip. The first day took us from Alta to Berg­s­fjord, a small place in Finn­mark, north Nor­way.

You can hard­ly ima­gi­ne more beau­tiful wea­ther than today as we star­ted with SV Mean­der in Alta in north Nor­way. Sun and com­ple­te absence of wind made being out­side a very enjoya­ble, almost sum­mer-like expe­ri­ence, in spi­te of snow and tem­pe­ra­tures clo­se to zero. We enjoy­ed stun­ning win­ter land­scape with snow-cover­ed moun­ta­ins all around us as we crui­sed out of Alta­fjord until we arri­ved at a small har­bour in Berg­s­fjord.

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

Gui­de­book “Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard”: ebook-ver­si­on available!

The gui­de­book “Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard” is now for the first time available in an ebook-for­mat!

Through five updated edi­ti­ons, the gui­de­book has evol­ved into what many pro­fes­sio­nal col­le­agues refer to as the “Spits­ber­gen-bible”. But so much infor­ma­ti­on on 608 pages does have some weight, which is obvious­ly not always gre­at when you are tra­vel­ling.

Spitsbergen guidebook, eBook

The gui­de­book Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard is now digi­tal­ly available on Apple Books.

No pro­blem, becau­se now the­re is an ebook ver­si­on available. To start with the bad news: it is curr­ent­ly only available on Apple Books. This is not what I want, but the­re are tech­ni­cal reasons for this.

Here is the link to the Eng­lish ver­si­on of the gui­de­book “Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard” in Apple Books. You can also find the Ger­man ver­si­on of the book on Apple Books.

Spitsbergen guidebook, eBook

The eBook-ver­si­on of the Spits­ber­gen-gui­de­book is as rich­ly illus­tra­ted as the print edi­ti­on.

The con­tents of the ebook and the prin­ted edi­ti­on are iden­ti­cal. The prin­ted ver­si­on is and remains available, of cour­se.

Cli­ma­te chan­ge: warm­ing of nor­t­hern Barents Sea 5-7 times abo­ve glo­bal avera­ge

Accor­ding to a recent sci­en­ti­fic stu­dy, glo­bal warm­ing in the nor­t­hern Barents Sea is 5-7 times fas­ter than the glo­bal avera­ge. Even com­pared to the avera­ge deve­lo­p­ment in the who­le Arc­tic, which is a hot­spot within glo­bal warm­ing, the cli­ma­tic deve­lo­p­ment of the nor­t­hern Barents Sea area is 2-2.5 times fas­ter.

Rain in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen

Hea­vy rain and tha­wing tem­pe­ra­tures over days in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, mid March 2022, in the midd­le of what should be the col­dest part of the win­ter. Gene­ral­ly spea­king, wea­ther and cli­ma­te should not be con­fu­sed, but an incre­asing fre­quen­cy and inten­si­ty of such events signi­fies a cli­ma­tic trend.

The­se and other figu­res are com­mu­ni­ca­ted by the Fram Forum in a pos­ting based on a sci­en­ti­fic artic­le by Ketil Isak­sen (Nor­we­gi­an Meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal Insti­tu­te) and Co-aut­hors in the sci­en­ti­fic maga­zi­ne Natu­re.

ice chart Svalbard area

Ice chart of the nor­t­hern Barents Sea / Sval­bard area from 12th April 2023
Nor­we­gi­an Meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal Insti­tu­te).

Loss of sea is is iden­ti­fied by Isak­sen and co-aut­hors as the main dri­ving mecha­nism behind this dra­ma­tic regio­nal trend. If pre­sent, sea ice effec­tively mini­mi­zes heat trans­fer bet­ween sea and atmo­sphe­re. Lack­ing sea ice in an area pre­vious­ly cover­ed by ice most of the year or even year round, howe­ver, enable warm (rela­tively warm, that is) sea water to release heat to the atmo­sphe­re.

Espe­ci­al­ly in nor­the­as­tern Sval­bard, sea ice was pre­sent almost year round most of the time until the recent past. The loss of sea ice in this par­ti­cu­lar area explains the espe­ci­al­ly pro­no­un­ced warm­ing in that part of the Arc­tic.

It was Frost

What many had assu­med is now offi­ci­al­ly con­firm­ed: the fema­le polar bear that drow­ned last Fri­day in Sas­senfjord was the famous polar bear “Frost”.

“Frost” was Spitsbergen’s most famous polar bear. Among­st others, she play­ed the star role in “Queen wit­hout land” by the Nor­we­gi­an pho­to­grapher Asge­ir Hel­ge­stad. Or, to be more pre­cise: she did not play the star role. She was the star.

In other docu­men­ta­ries she was cal­led “Misha”. She gra­ced the covers of seve­ral ones of my own books. Over the years, I had the pri­vi­le­ge to obser­ve Frost a cou­ple of times.

Polar bear Frost is dead

The polar bear Frost with her fami­ly,
in bet­ter times in Tem­pel­fjord.

Last Friday’s events at Vin­dod­den in Sas­senfjord will now be inves­ti­ga­ted by appro­pria­te aut­ho­ri­ties, main­ly Sys­sel­mes­te­ren. As of now, the­re is no indi­ca­ti­on of cri­mi­nal beha­viour, as Sval­bard­pos­ten reports.

It is said that Frost was mark­ed by sci­en­tists (Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te) during the days befo­re her dead. Mar­king polar bears always invol­ves gene­ral aenes­the­sia dis­pen­sed with a rif­le shot from a heli­c­op­ter. A poten­ti­al con­nec­tion of the aenes­the­sia and Frost’s death will be part of the inves­ti­ga­ti­on.

Frost had a cub with her that atta­cked the action forces as they retrie­ved her body from the sea. The cub was shot. Also this part of the inci­dent will be inves­ti­ga­ted.

During her long life, Frost and her off­spring had fre­quent cont­act with peo­p­le and infra­struc­tu­re, some of which was harmful or even tra­gic. This ran­ges from many dama­ged huts to the death of Johan (“Job”) Koot­te in August 2020, which was cau­sed by one of Frost’s cubs. Seve­ral of her cubs lost their lives during the­se and other inci­dents.

Two polar bears dead in Sas­senfjord

Two polar bears died on Good Fri­day in the ear­ly mor­ning at Vin­dod­den in Sas­senfjord. A fema­le bear drow­ned and her cub was later shot.

During the night – which is not dark any­mo­re, the mid­night sun is not far away – the litt­le bear fami­ly was seen by peo­p­le near Vin­dod­den. Vin­dod­den is a small pen­in­su­la in Sas­senfjord with a cou­ple of huts owned and used by locals from Lon­gye­ar­by­en, and during spring weekends, espe­ci­al­ly the Eas­ter weekend, it is very popu­lar to stay in a hut.

Vindodden, Sassenfjord

Vin­dod­den in Sas­senfjord: two polar bears died here in the ear­ly mor­ning on Good Fri­day.

The polar bears approa­ched the huts, whe­re peo­p­le tried to sca­re them away with war­ning shots fired from signal pis­tols. This work­ed, and the polar bears moved away, swim­ming in the fjord.

So far, so com­ple­te­ly nor­mal. Polar bears are excel­lent swim­mers and can easi­ly cover long distances in the water.

But in this par­ti­cu­lar case, the inci­dent soon had a tra­gic out­co­me. The fema­le bear was soon seen dead in the water, head down, with the cub swim­ming around her. The Sys­sel­mes­ter (poli­ce) was alar­med and came by heli­c­op­ter. The dead fema­le was retrie­ved from the water. The cub approa­ched, the per­so­nell tried to sca­re the cub away, but this time, it did not work and the cub was sub­se­quent­ly shot.

The case will now be inves­ti­ga­ted in details, inclu­ding hea­ring of wit­nesses and post­mor­tem exami­na­ti­on of the bear.

Fur­ther details are not yet released.

New ener­gy sup­p­ly for Lon­gye­ar­by­en: decis­i­on made

For years alre­a­dy, the­re has been a dis­cus­sion about a new ener­gy sup­p­ly for Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The old coal power plant should have been repla­ced years ago, pre­fer­a­b­ly with a more envi­ron­men­tal­ly fri­end­ly and relia­ble ener­gy source. A wide ran­ge of pos­si­ble solu­ti­ons has been dis­cus­sed over the years.

Final­ly, a decis­i­on is now been made. The result may sur­pri­se at a first glan­ce, but second thoughts will reve­al gre­at wis­dom, con­side­ring the solu­ti­on that has, in its essence, been used by indi­ge­nous cul­tures for ages around the glo­be, some­thing that will suit the litt­le arc­tic sett­le­ment in Spits­ber­gen well.

The new power sup­p­ly will be based on bio­mass. The high­light of the new sys­tem is that it will be based on a local ener­gy source, name­ly reinde­er drop­pings, just as camel muck that has been used by noma­dic peo­p­le in hot deserts for gene­ra­ti­ons.

Longyearbyen: energy based on reindeeer droppings

Lon­gye­ar­by­en will get a power plant based on bio­mass, fired with reinde­er drop­pings.

The decis­i­on is based on con­side­ra­ti­ons and cal­cu­la­ti­ons that were made pos­si­ble by the local reinde­er popu­la­ti­on cen­sus of 2019, which yiel­ded a total num­ber of more than 22,000 ani­mals. The reinde­er don’t do any­thing else than tur­ning tun­dra vege­ta­ti­on into pre­cious fuel – and they pro­du­ce more than enough to gua­ran­tee a suf­fi­ci­ent sup­p­ly of ener­gy. Addi­tio­nal­ly, the drop­pings dry quick­ly in the arid high-arc­tic cli­ma­te.

Tech­no­lo­gy to auto­ma­ti­cal­ly coll­ect the drop­pings on the tun­dra is curr­ent­ly being deve­lo­ped, based on auto­ma­tic vacu­um clea­ners.

Lon­gye­ar­by­en plan­ned to beco­me smal­ler and more Nor­we­gi­an

Words of almost refres­hing hones­ty: Accor­ding to the Nor­we­gi­an news web­site NRK, the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment aims at making Longyearbyen’s popu­la­ti­on smal­ler and more Nor­we­gi­an.

Longyearbyen: a Norwegian settlement

Lon­gye­ar­by­en (here on 17th May, the Nor­we­gi­an natio­nal day) is a very Nor­we­gi­an sett­le­ment, regard­less of the inter­na­tio­nal parts of its popu­la­ti­on. Nobo­dy is ques­tio­ning that – with the pos­si­ble excep­ti­on of the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment its­elf, which aims at redu­cing the popu­la­ti­on and incre­asing the Nor­we­gi­an part of it. To achie­ve this goal, Oslo poli­ti­ci­ans don’t seem to have any inhi­bi­ti­on to dis­cri­mi­na­te direct­ly against for­eig­ners, for exam­p­le by dis­pos­ses­sing them of their local voting rights.

“The popu­la­ti­on of the archi­pe­la­go is too high and it should not grow any fur­ther. The popu­la­ti­on needs a hig­her pro­por­ti­on of Nor­we­gi­an citi­zens”, this is how NRK quo­tes the govern­ment, name­ly under­se­cre­ta­ry of sate John-Erik Vika (Senterpartiet/Centre Par­ty) in the minis­try of jus­ti­ce, which is respon­si­ble for lar­ge parts of Norway’s Sval­bard poli­tics.

Lon­gye­ar­by­en locals with citi­zen­ship other than Norw­gi­an have expe­ri­en­ced Nor­we­gi­an Sval­bard and Lon­gye­ar­by­en poli­cy – the part that is made in Oslo, to be more pre­cise – in part as dis­cri­mi­na­ting. A pro­mi­nent exam­p­le is last year’s decis­i­on to dis­pos­sess most for­eig­ners of their local voting rights.

SV Noor­der­licht groun­ded in Nor­way, free again

Thurs­day ear­ly mor­ning, the sai­ling ship Noor­der­licht ran aground in Nor­way. The acci­dent site was at Rug­hol­men, north of Trond­heim. Nobo­dy was inju­red.

Sailing ship Noorderlicht

SV Noor­der­licht (to the left) in Lon­gye­ar­by­en (2022).

The­re were 26 per­sons on board. 24 of them were soon evacua­ted by res­cue forces wit­hout any dra­ma or fur­ther dan­ger. Cap­tain and engi­neer remain­ed on board with res­cue forces on stand­by. After a while, they could get the ship off the rocks with towing assis­tance. SV Noor­der­licht was then able to reach a port under her own steam. Dama­ge appears accor­din­gly litt­le or none-exis­tent. This was also con­firm­ed by a spea­k­er of the Nor­we­gi­an poli­ce, as NRK repor­ted.

An offi­ci­al hull inspec­tion will be car­ri­ed out befo­re Noor­der­licht is allo­wed to sail again.

Per­so­nal com­ment

I have many hap­py memo­ries from voy­a­ges with SV Noor­der­licht, both in Spits­ber­gen and main­land Nor­way. I wish all peo­p­le con­cer­ned – pas­sen­gers, crew and com­pa­ny – all the best, and safe and hap­py sai­ling again soon!

News from the north

For various reasons, I had to lea­ve the news sec­tion on this web­site alo­ne for a cou­ple of days, but (almost) not­hing is get­ting lost here … so, what has hap­pen­ed up the­re recent­ly?

Actual­ly, quite a lot:

Sun fes­ti­val

The sun is back! Fol­lo­wing good tra­di­ti­on, the return of the sun was cele­bra­ted in Lon­gye­ar­by­en with the key event on 08 March. That is the day when the sun is actual­ly visi­ble again abo­ve the moun­ta­ins from Lon­gye­ar­by­en. From the old parts of Lon­gye­ar­by­en, that is, whe­re the tra­di­ti­on was born; you can actual­ly see the sun a cou­ple of days ear­lier from the newer parts of Lon­gye­ar­by­en clo­se to the fjord. And alre­a­dy in late Febru­ary from sui­ta­ble places in the sur­roun­dings of Lon­gye­ar­by­en, in ele­va­ted posi­ti­ons or in Hior­th­hamn (on the north side of Advent­fjord). As long as you have a clear view to the south.

Tal­king about a free view: it all doesn’t real­ly help when the sun is hiding behind clouds. This was the case this time on 08 March. Nevert­hel­ess, locals and tou­rists cele­bra­ted the occa­si­on with a series of cul­tu­ral events that come with the return of the sun.

sun festival Longyearbyen

sun fes­ti­val with clear sky (archi­ve image; this time, it was over­cast).

Emer­gen­cy res­cue ser­vices in demand: acci­dents and evacua­tions

The busy win­ter sea­son is in full swing, and the emer­gen­cy res­cue ser­vices are in demand. On Satur­day, a ski hiker was res­cued during stor­my wea­ther from Rabot­breen. Due to serious­ly bad wea­ther, SAR forces had to abort a first attempt to find the man on Fri­day, but a short wea­ther win­dow allo­wed for a suc­cessful heli­c­op­ter flight on Satur­day. In the mean­ti­me, the man, a Polish citi­zen, has tal­ked to various media. He was on the way to New­ton­top­pen, to prepa­re for a later expe­di­ti­on in Ant­ar­c­ti­ca. With seve­ral expe­di­ti­ons in arc­tic parts of Cana­da and Sibe­ria, the man has con­sidera­ble rele­vant expe­ri­ence.

This was only one of seve­ral recent examp­les. During the busy win­ter sea­son, it is not a very rare event that peo­p­le – tou­rists or locals – have to be evacua­ted from the field after snow mobi­le (or other) acci­dents.

The local sec­tion of the Red Cross remin­ded ever­y­bo­dy recent­ly that also pro­fes­sio­nal SAR forces have to deal with wea­ther and other dan­gers of natu­re and may not alway be able to prompt­ly help peo­p­le in need, espe­ci­al­ly under con­di­ti­ons when things are likely to hap­pen.

Snow mobile group, Adventdalen

Snow mobi­le group out on tour in Advent­da­len.

One of the more curious events of this kind in a wider sen­se hap­pen­ed on Tues­day in Hior­th­hamn, when a snow mobi­le caught fire. No peo­p­le were har­med. The exact reason is not publi­cal­ly known in this case, but it may for exam­p­le hap­pen when someone dri­ves with the hand bra­ke put on. Not unhe­ard of.

While I was wri­ting the­se lines on Wed­nes­day, a serious snow mobi­le acci­dent hap­pen­ed that sad­ly took one person’s life. Read more about this case here in a dedi­ca­ted pos­ting (I kept the artic­le that you are rea­ding right now unpu­blished for ano­ther day becau­se it felt inap­pro­pria­te to publish it, whe­re the news of a fatal acci­dent are just one of many bits and pie­ces of infor­ma­ti­on).

By now, the­re is some more infor­ma­ti­on available. The decea­sed per­son was in his 60s and tra­vel­ling alo­ne. He was the last one in a gui­ded group of snow mobi­le tou­rists when he got off the track and fell down a steep, 10-12 met­res deep ravi­ne. First aid mea­su­res were appli­ed but when the SAR heli­c­op­ter arri­ved, saving the man’s life was bey­ond reach despi­te of all efforts.

Small ships under pres­su­re, big ones coming big time

Big­ger crui­se ships may be in for a record-brea­king sum­mer. A spec­trum from 100+ pas­sen­ger expe­di­ti­on ships to lar­ge crui­se ships car­ry­ing seve­ral thousand pas­sen­gers may bring up to 75,000 tou­rists to Lon­gye­ar­by­en in the upco­ming sum­mer. This will, for exam­p­le through port fees, bring a lot of money to Longyearbyen’s public cash balan­ce and pri­va­te com­pa­nies will also bene­fit, but others watch this deve­lo­p­ment with mixed fee­lings. The­re are many locals who feel that the place is over­c­row­ded when lar­ge crui­se ships are in port, and the hos­pi­tal has alre­a­dy expres­sed worries regar­ding health ser­vice capa­ci­ties.

Ships, Longyearbyentdalen

Tou­rists tra­vel to Sval­bard on a wide ran­ge of ships from small sai­ling boats to lar­ge crui­se ships.

At the same time, tour ope­ra­tors focus­sing on small ships are worried about the future of their acti­vi­ties which is threa­ten­ed by serious rest­ric­tions announ­ced by the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment. They have been mat­ter of con­tro­ver­si­al public dis­cus­sion alre­a­dy for some time. The­re are no recent news, and we have to wait and see what the result of the pro­cess will look like. On Wed­nes­day, repre­sen­ta­ti­ves of the local eco­no­my tra­vel­led to Oslo to pre­sent their view­point and express their worries about poli­tics that, as they feel, seem to have lost the con­nec­tion to the local rea­li­ty.

It seems as if the mis­si­on of the Lon­gye­ar­by­en repre­sen­ta­ti­ves had at least some suc­cess: seve­ral mem­bers of the Nor­we­gi­an par­la­ment have sin­ce exp­pres­sed doubts about the legal pro­po­sals and sug­gested to put the pro­cess on hold until the new Sval­bard­mel­ding is out in 2024. The Sval­bard­mel­ding is a govern­ment decla­ra­ti­on that defi­nes a frame for future Sval­bard poli­tics for a cou­ple of years. The last one came out in 2016, and it did not say any­thing about clo­sing lar­ge parts of the archi­pe­la­go for most peo­p­le and other stuff that is going on right now.

Click here to read more about the plans of the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment. Accor­ding to cur­rent know­ledge, we expect chan­ges to enter force in 2024.

At the same time, Nor­we­gi­an oil and gas busi­nesses cele­bra­te a record-brea­king year, due to high pri­ces on the world mar­kets which are at least in part the con­se­quence of the Rus­si­an war against the Ukrai­ne, and new dis­co­veries in the North Sea, accor­ding to NRK.

Few will deny that cer­tain fields of regu­la­ti­on con­cer­ning tou­rism need impro­ve­ment, for exam­p­le a gui­de cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on sche­me which has been dis­cus­sed for years, a limit to the num­ber of expe­di­ti­on ships (100 or maxi­mum 200 pas­sen­gers capa­ci­ty), a size limit for lar­ger ones and a gene­ral ban on cru­de oil in arc­tic waters, while the­re is no fac­tu­al reason to dis­pos­sess real­ly small ships of the pos­si­bi­li­ty to land pas­sen­gers almost any­whe­re on Svalbard’s coast­li­ne as has been the case so far. But con­side­ring the poli­ti­cal pres­su­re on tou­rism in Sval­bard on one side and the fur­ther deve­lo­p­ment of oil and gas, one may expe­ri­ence Nor­we­gi­an envi­ron­men­tal poli­tics as rather ambi­va­lent.

Envi­ron­men­tal toxins at Hotell­ne­set

Pol­lu­ti­on pro­blems of cer­tain are­as at Hotell­ne­set, near the air­port, with cer­tain long-lived envi­ron­men­tal toxins (PFAS) thought to cau­se can­cer have been known for years. The sub­s­tances go back to fire­fight­ing sub­s­tances used on a fire­fight­ing exer­cise area. Jørn Dyb­dahl, form­er­ly owner of a riding cent­re at Hotell­ne­set, con­siders his can­cer to be rela­ted to the local pol­lu­ti­on. The hand­ling of the mat­ter by rele­vant aut­ho­ri­ties has been a mat­ter of cri­ti­cism for a long time.

Hotellneset

Hotell­ne­set near Lon­gye­ar­by­en air­port has a long histo­ry of indus­tri­al use and cor­re­spon­ding pol­lu­ti­on.

Natur­vern­for­bun­det in Troms, an eco­lo­gy group form north Nor­way, have recent­ly added to the cri­ti­cism: while 100 mg are the the­shold value for PFAS in main­land Nor­way and envi­ron­men­tal aut­ho­ri­ties are actual­ly deba­ting the reduc­tion of the allo­wed maxi­mum value to 2 mg, the Nor­we­gi­an envi­ron­men­tal aut­ho­ri­ty (mil­jø­di­rek­to­rat) has sug­gested 150 mg to be an accep­ta­ble maxi­mum value for Hotell­ne­set. Natur­vern­for­bund Troms fears that envi­ron­men­tal stan­dards are lowe­red to save cos­ts of the clean-up which has to be car­ri­ed out. Accep­ting hig­her thres­hold values would inde­ed be a stran­ge step espe­ci­al­ly in an arc­tic eco­sys­tem which due to the low tem­pe­ra­tures is espe­ci­al­ly sen­si­ti­ve to che­mi­cal influen­ces.

Fatal snow mobi­le acci­dent

One per­son died in a fatal snow mobi­le acci­dent today (Wed­nes­day, 15 March), accor­ding to the Sys­sel­mes­ter. The acci­dent hap­pen­ed on a fre­quent­ly used snow mobi­le rou­te bet­ween Kapp Lai­la (Coles­buk­ta) and Barents­burg, about two kilo­me­t­res west of Kapp Lai­la.

Kapp Laila-Barentsburg snow mobile route

The snow mobi­le rou­te bet­ween Kapp Lai­la and Barents­burg.

The exact posi­ti­on of the acci­dent is not yet publi­cal­ly known, but the appro­xi­ma­te posi­ti­on sug­gests that the acci­dent hap­pen­ed in the vici­ni­ty of a stee­p­ly incis­ed val­ley. The rou­te leads around the val­ley, but this can be chal­len­ging if, for exam­p­le, the sur­face is icy. The man, a US citi­zen, was part of a gui­ded tour.

The­re is curr­ent­ly no more infor­ma­ti­on available.

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News-Listing live generated at 2023/December/09 at 22:11:11 Uhr (GMT+1)
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