Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Aug. 25, 2015


Cruise passengers pay to clean up trash from beaches  
A total of 112 passengers are participating in the first Clean Up Svalbard cruise by a foreign operator by collecting trash from shorelines as part of their voyage. The Ortelius, operated by Oceanwide Expeditions, is the second cruise ship making such a voyage this year, following Hurtigruten’s Nordstjernen in July. Both operators offered the one-time cruises after an effort by The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators to obtain funding for a wider program was unsuccessful. There were questions about whether there would be enough bookings aboard the Ortelius to make the voyage financially practical just a few weeks before the scheduled departure, but the ship was fully booked after the company split the itinerary evenly between cleanups and polar bear sightseeing. “We had to cut a little from our ambitions,” said Troels Jacobsen, product and sales director for Oceawide Expeditions. “But on the other side, the end justifies the means.”

Remains of illegal fire at Colesbukta still smoldering
The ground of a cultural heritage site at Colesbukta where an illegal bonfire was set two weeks is still smoldering, according to The Governor of Svalbard. “The fire depart-ment has tried to extinguish it with foam,” said Police Chief Lt. Thor-Arild Hansen. “There is currently no risk of it spreading to the remains north of the fire site.” Officials with the governor’s office are planning to continue monitoring the site. The area is home to numerous monuments, including cabins and trapping devices. No suspects have been located and the governor’s office is continuing to request tips from the public.

Cruise passengers pay to help others clear beach trash
Normally the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund gives out money, but a 5,000-kroner donation intended for beach cleanup collected from passengers on a cruise ship was accepted by The Governor of Svalbard after consulting with environmental ministry officials about whether it was legal to do so.