Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Nov. 10, 2015

shipworms

Shipworms latest creature to appear in warming waters
Shipworms, a  larva capable of wreaking havoc on wood objects in the sea, appear to be making their way into Svalbard due to climate change, according to researchers. Bjørn Altermark, a researcher for the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tromsø, placed planks into the water at Bykaia last year and discovered one of the specimens when he returned this year. He’s also been monitoring planks in Kongfjorden and the far more northern waters of Rijpfjorden since 2007, but come up empty until now. “If the climate warms and they come it’s only a matter of time until otherwise intact ships disappear,” said Øyvind Ødegård, a marine archaeologist and PhD student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

Woman suspected of arson faces 21 years in prison 
A woman suspected of starting a fire at an apartment in March is facing up to 21 years in prison for arson following a lengthy investigation by The Governor of Svalbard. “The matter has been fully investigated for some time and now we’re got an awhile and we’ve just an expert report from the forensic psychiatric evaluator,” said Lt. Gov. Jens Olav Sæther. “It says that the accused is deemed to have been sane.” The woman, who officials said acknowledged setting fire to a mattress in a storage room on the second floor of the apartment, was sent to the mainland shortly thereafter and placed under “restrictions which are alternative to detention.” Sæther said he expects a decision by prosecutors about charges within two weeks.

Man fined, jailed for causing disturbance at Karlsberger
A man in his 30s was fined 5,000 kroner and spent a night in jail after causing a disturbance at Karlsberger Pub at about 1 a.m. Saturday, according to The Governor of Svalbard. The man, a visitor to Longyearbyen, disrupted the pub with loud and vulgar behavior, resulting in patrons holding him down and notifying police, said Police Chief Lt. Trond Olsen. The man also made multiple threats against police while being arrested.
them as he was taken into custody. The fine and incarceration were for improper behavior toward police carrying out official duties. He agreed to pay the fine and was released later during the day.