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Home* News and Stories → Ships and rocks …

Ships and rocks …

… are by no means a good com­bi­na­ti­on. That is gene­ral­ly well known, but nevert­hel­ess, some­ti­mes it hap­pens that both meet.

It hap­pen­ed actual­ly twice in Spits­ber­gen in April, short­ly after the begin­ning of the sea­son. To start with the good news: none of the­se inci­den­ces invol­ved serious con­se­quen­ces for life and limb or the envi­ron­ment.

The French ves­sel Polar­front hit the ground clo­se to the coast at Dia­ba­sod­den in Isfjord. Soon it recei­ved help from the coast guard, who evacua­ted the 12 pas­sen­gers and later pul­led Polar­front off the shal­low. The ship could sail back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en under its own steam. No dama­ge was found upon later inspec­tion. Inves­ti­ga­ti­ons have not been finis­hed yet, but “inat­ten­ti­ve navi­ga­ti­on” is suspec­ted rather than tech­ni­cal reasons.


Polar­front (archi­ve image).

Ano­ther case hap­pen­ed also in April, when Viking­fjord ran aground clo­se to the shore in Mag­da­le­nefjord. 22 per­sons were on board, inclu­ding 12 pas­sen­gers. Viking­fjord came afloat again with high water, appar­ent­ly wit­hout any dama­ge.

Yet ano­ther inci­dent hap­pen­ed at the west coast when a fire bro­ke out on the sai­ling ship Lin­den. The fire could be brought under con­trol and the ship sai­led to Lon­gye­ar­by­en for inspec­tion.


Nobo­dy who takes part in any kind of traf­fic should ever say he or she would never be invol­ved in an acci­dent, such as groun­ding when it comes to ship­ping. Nevert­hel­ess, when a ship runs aground at some pace pret­ty clo­se to the shore within gene­ral­ly well-known and well-char­ted waters, it may rai­se more than an eye­brow. Inves­ti­ga­ti­ons still need to be car­ri­ed out, but it seems to be a fair assump­ti­on that the­se invi­dents might well have been avo­ided with careful, pro­per navi­ga­ti­on. Lucki­ly, the­se cases remain­ed wit­hout con­se­quen­ces for health and life of peo­p­le or dama­ge to the envi­ron­ment. What remains is pro­ba­b­ly eco­no­mic­al trou­ble for the respec­ti­ve ship owners and tour oer­a­tors and poli­ti­cal dama­ge that might well later con­cern ever­y­bo­dy who is sai­ling in the­se waters.



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last modification: 2024-05-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange