Tag Archives: Russia

CHINA BUYING HURTIGRUTEN – LEGIT POSSIBILITY OR NOT? A columnist set off a media firestorm by declaring it a ‘realistic scenario,’ but is it just idle clickbait speculation?

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An analyst snagged national headlines Thursday by suggesting China might buy Hurtigruten in the wake of the company’s COVID-19 scandal in an effort to further the country’s goal of establishing a major presence in Svalbard. Such a presence, along with that of countries like Russia, has for years been among Norway’s top security worries – but is the columnist offering a legitimate scenario or merely clickbait?

On one hand, we’ve been here before with China and large purchases in recent years, and it ended up being it ended up being something of a joke. On the other, another author who’s a foremost expert on Svalbard and Arctic conflicts declares “Hurtigruten will be sold, sooner or later” – although he suggests Russia might be the country more ideally suited to make a Svalbard power play.

RADIOACTIVE SVALBARD: ‘Very low levels,’ possibly from Russian reactor, detected this month at stations near Longyearbyen and in Finnmark

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It’s not Chernobyl, Three Mile Island or probably even a trip to the dentist, but there’s something a bit strange in the air.

A small amount of radioactivity was detected earlier this month at monitoring stations near Longyearbyen and Kirkenes, according to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. The amount is not considered hazardous and the organization stated the source is still being determined.

FISHY THINGS STILL CAUSING A STINK IN SVALBARD: Russia protests detaining of trawler this month; Latvian crab vessel fined 2M kr. for poaching incident that sparked global uproar

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Add another case to what might be called an epidemic of feverish disputes about fishing and other international rights issues in Svalbard, as Russia on Friday filed a formal protest with Norway over the detaining of a Russian trawler in the archipelago earlier month because it was operating within Norway’s fishery protection zone.

The protest follows three other detentions of Russian trawlers in recent years, plus a multitude of separate protests and other actions Russia has taken regarding what it calls Norway’s illegal interpretation of the Svalbard.

Also this week, a Latvian ship company was fined two million kroner in a by a Norwegian court for illegally catching 80 tons of snow crab in Svalbard, four years after the detaining of the vessel touched off a fierce legal battle with the European Union about access rights under the treaty. The battle took on global significance because the laws governing the seabed species are considered the same governing far more lucrative resources in the area such as oil.

BEAR ON BOARD: Crew of Russian cargo ship forced to take refuge on roof as polar bear climbs on deck in search of food

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A polar bear in search of food climbed aboard a Russian cargo ship while it was in Svalbard waters, forcing the crew to take refuge at length on the roof until the predator, failing to find the fish aboard, gave up and swam away, according to the Murmansk Sea Fish Port.

TREATY TANTRUM: Russia uses 100-year anniversary of Svalbard Treaty to revive long-running list of accusations of discrimination by Norway in economic, other access

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Russia is tossing a stink bomb into this weekend’s planned celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the Svalbard Treaty by demanding a meeting with Norway’s leaders regarding a multitude of long-running accusations of discrimination against Russia – including economic and scientific activity, fishing right, and deportation of citizens – in violation of the treaty’s equal-access provisions.

MILITARY OR MEDIA – WHO’S THE AGENT PROVOCATEUR? Russia blasts report of its special forces in Svalbard as ‘fake news’

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One thing’s certain: somebody’s committing what is being called a “gross provocation” involving illegal military might in Svalbard. The question is whether it involves actual military – specifically, Russian special forces supposedly occupying Svalbard and mainland Norway recently – or the news organization falsely reporting the latest in a series of stories about simulated invasions of the archipelago.

RUSSIA EASILY CONQUERS SVALBARD, YET AGAIN: Had this been an actual invasion you wouldn’t be reading this since SvalSat and subsea communications were among targets

A daring, well-organized and tech-savvy mass of Russia military might asserted its vast superiority against its northern Norwegian neighbors by easily conquering the disputed territory of Svalbard

OK, in what’s become roughly akin to the latest release in a paperback techo-thriller series, that part of the narrative is predictable. So this year’s plot highlights achievements such as attacking the archipelago’s all-important communications facilities, keeping people here and helpful military folks elsewhere from being able to do much of anything useful.

Svalbard Daily Planet for the week of Aug. 11-18, 2019

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More tensions with Russia as a key ocean research project and a much-anticipated Hurtigruten cruise east of Svalbard are in peril, weather delays the removal of the wrecked Northguider trawler from north Svalbard, Svalbard called “good practices” example as cruises to other small Arctic communities cause problems, start of annual whaling season brings annual protests, Store Norske coal to aid climate research before mines are dismantled, and more stories from media around the world you may have missed.

Svalbard Daily Planet for the week of Aug. 4-10, 2019

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Ukraine joins non-Arctic nations seeking a strong presence in Svalbard to Russia’s outrage, Svalbard Bryggeri debuts a seriously watered-down beverage, why the seed vault isn’t an ideal place to go bananas and other recent headlines about Svalbard from the global mainstream media.

Random weirdness for the week of April 30, 2019

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It’s always an honor (cough) to publish yet another award-winning photo in a “Travel Photographer of the Year” contest in this space, this time featuring a polar bear consuming its prey “80 degrees north of Svalbard.” Uh, wait…what?!