Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 13, 2018


Leak on freighter ship seriously damages six vehicles, other cargo
Some of the cargo aboard the Norbjørn freighter, including six vehicles, suffered serious water damage during a voyage from Tromsø to Longyearbyen, according to the shipping company responsible. “We have had water in the cargo area and high water levels have damaged the containers,” said Torstein Stormo, regional director for Posten Bring in Tromsø, said Friday as workers were continuing to offload the ship and assess damage. “There was a failure of a pump on a ballast tank that has given us problems.” He said the ship itself was not in damage during the voyage. Four of the inoperative vehicles were supposed to be used by the company filming the TV series “Fortitude,” while the other two belonged  LNS Spitsbergen and Svalbard Auto. Other damaged items included a conveyor belt owned by Avinor and various construction-related items. Stormo said insurance companies are reviewing the damaged items and compensation. The Norbjørn departed Longyeabryen on Friday evening and will be repaired in Tromsø.

Former local mining leaders hoping to revive Svea, Lunckefjell
Six longtime local mining officials who recently formed the company Sveafjord AS finalizing a proposal they hope will convince politicians to change their minds about dismantling the Svea and Lunckefjell coal mines instead of reopening them. “The background for our work is what was presented under the state budget,” said Robert Hermansen, a former director of Store Norske who is president of the new company. “Based on those calculations closure would be sensible given that it cost the state more to start up than to shut down. (But) it is hard for us to understand that it is not possible to operate with a profit.” The new company is projecting average annual profits of tens or hundreds of millions of kroner during a ten-year period. The government, which owns Store Norske and has already rejected one offer from a private entity to sell Svea, maintains it is more economical in the long run to spend roughly 1.5 billion kroner to dismantle the mines.