TO THE VISITOR WHO TOOK OUR POLAR BEAR SIGN: Not to sacrifice journalistic impartiality or anything, but you suck

TO THE VISITOR WHO TOOK OUR POLAR BEAR SIGN: Not to sacrifice journalistic impartiality or anything, but you suck

So now you’ve got our famous sign countless thousands of people took photos of themselves with as their requisite Svalbard “trophy” shot. What are you going to do with it – hang More »

LOTS OF HELP – BUT TOO LATE FOR SOME? Government proposing 25M kr. in COVID-19 aid for tourism companies in Svalbard, but some said this summer help needed before fall

LOTS OF HELP – BUT TOO LATE FOR SOME? Government proposing 25M kr. in COVID-19 aid for tourism companies in Svalbard, but some said this summer help needed before fall

The Norwegian government is proposing a supplemental 25 million kroner in assistance for tourism companies in Svalbard due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to previously-approved crisis aid targeted toward businesses, the More »

OFF TO A HEALTHY(?!) RUNNING START: Locals running crazily amok in the streets just a positive diagnosis the spirit of this year’s month of telethon fundraiser activities is starting strong

OFF TO A HEALTHY(?!) RUNNING START: Locals running crazily amok in the streets just a positive diagnosis the spirit of this year’s month of telethon fundraiser activities is starting strong

So at least we’re back to this part of, um, normal life where a giant carrot, a coal miner with briefcase and a pink flamingo raft running wily-nilly through the streets of Longyearbyen More »

COLD CASHLESS: Sparebank NordNorge closing half of its branches, including Svalbard’s only physical bank outlet

COLD CASHLESS: Sparebank NordNorge closing half of its branches, including Svalbard’s only physical bank outlet

Sparebank1 NordNorge is closing 16 of its 31 branches, including Longyearbyen’s only physical bank location, due to increased digitalization by customers that has accelerated during the COVID-pandemic and a desire to cut costs More »

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Sept. 8, 2020

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Sept. 8, 2020

Month of local ‘TV auction’ activities start Saturday, with virus-related restrictions A month of local activities for a national fundraiser – this time to remedy trash in oceans – is scheduled to More »

 

SHOT IN SELF DEFENSE: No charges against cruise ship crew that killed polar bear during shore excursion that resulted in heated debate about remote Arctic tourism

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No criminal charges are being sought against cruise ship employees who fatally shot a polar bear that attempted an attack during a shore excursion in north Svalbard in July of 2018, resulting in a heated debate about large-scale tourism in remote Arctic areas, because it was a legitimate case of self defense, The Governor of Svalbard announced Friday.

NORWAY BANS CRUISES TO SVALBARD: Cruises within archipelago with up to 30 people and day trips still permissible under new rule in effect until Nov. 1

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A ban on all cruises to Svalbard until at least Nov. 1 was announced Friday by Norway’s government in an attempt to prevent the COVID-19 virus from reaching one of the few places on Earth with no known cases. Cruises within the archipelago with 30 or fewer people if on-board accommodations are part of the voyage are allowed, as are day trips.

‘DEVASTATING’ INVESTIGATION: Roald Amundsen doctors treated sick crew who had COVID-19 on July 21 – ten days before Hurtigruten reported first ‘known’ cases to officials

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A formal investigation of the COVID-19 outbreak on Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen during two one-week voyages in Svalbard adds more findings described as “devastating” to an already long list of violations and questionable decisions, including crew members sick with COVID-19 who went unreported ten days before the outbreak was reported to authorities.

SHIPWRECKED NORTHGUIDER FINALLY REMOVED: After 20 months of many failed attempts and many lessons learned, shrimp trawler in north Svalbard hauled away in pieces

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The long and dramatic sea story of the Northguider, which began with the rescue of the crew from the waterlogged trawler in the total dark of a December 2018 blizzard at the northern edge of Svalbard, appears finally at an end as officials announced Tuesday the wreckage of the vessel has been hauled away in pieces after several previous failed salvage attempts.

HURTIGRUTEN KEEPS NUMEROUS VOYAGES WITH COVID-19 CASES SECRET: Prior to outbreak during Svalbard voyages in July, numerous infected people on cruises unreported

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An outbreak of COVID-19 aboard a Hurtigruten cruise ship during two Svalbard voyages in July that triggered an investigation proving scandalous for the company was only one of numerous sailings since February were people infected with the virus were not properly reported, according to officials.

LAID OFF AND LEAVING? Here’s an awesome alternative to ‘travel home’ grants – luxury cruise ship stuck here for weeks needs 60 crew for two-month voyage east to Hawaii by Monday

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A French luxury cruise ship stuck in Longyearbyen for weeks due to COVID-19 issues is suddenly in need of finding 60 crew members with tourism skills for a nearly two-month voyage east to Russia, Japan and Hawaii – that begins on Monday.

Gee, wonder if there’s anyone here with both the perfect skills and motive able to keep the company from having to seek out people not on Norway’s virus “red list” and fly them here?

FAREWELL FUNDS FOR FOREIGNERS: Travel grants for employees laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic to return to their homeland now available from city

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Online applications are now available for foreign residents laid off from jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic to cover travel costs to return to their homeland, Longyearbyen’s municipal government announced Tuesday.

STILL NO COVID-19 IN SVALBARD – BUT AT A SICK COST: The world just passed 25 million cases; why is Svalbard one of about 10 places on Earth with none and at what extreme price?

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The world’s northernmost town, one of about ten places on Earth with no COVID-19 cases, had its first death directly linked to the pandemic on Friday. But it wasn’t due to illness – it was a fatal attack by a polar bear on the manager of the local campsite as he lay in his tent, who because of extreme ban on all non-residents this spring was unable to come up and build an electric warning fence around the site that likely would have saved his life.

‘THERE ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS’ FAQ ABOUT FATAL POLAR BEAR ATTACK AT CAMPSITE: Why is camping allowed, why isn’t there a fence, was killing the bear necessary and other answers

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To ask questions such as why a polar bear in the act of fatally attacking a camper has to be shot instead of, say, subdued and kept alive for breeding/zoo purposes may seem like an insanely ignorant and insensitive question for those with “common knowledge” about bears in Svalbard.

But since everybody needs to learn the answers for the first time, including the best experts and longest-residing locals, here’s a FAQ for the most common things being asked following Friday’s polar bear attack at Longyearbyen Camping that resulted in the death of the campsite’s manager as he lay in his tent shortly before 4 a.m.

POLAR BEAR VICTIM IDENTIFIED: Johan (‘Job’) Jacobus Kootte, 38, of The Netherlands, was an employee at the campsite laying in his tent when the fatal attacked occurred

Johan Jacobus Kootte

Photo by Jan Jacops

The man killed by a polar bear at Longyearbyen Camping just before 4 a.m. Friday has been identified as Johan (“Job”) Jacobus Kootte, 38, of The Netherlands, an employee at the campsite, officials announced Friday afternoon.

“He was lying in his tent when he was attacked by the bear,” a statement by The Governor of Svalbard notes. “Relatives have been notified.”